Improve productivity by making a positive workspace. Pic: Unsplash

Think big: Step up workplace productivity with 5 psychology-based tips

For any business, productivity enhancements can bring about significant gains in terms of profitability and innovation. When your team is working at optimal levels, and when everyone is collaborating toward the same goals, you experience a certain synergy that is not possible otherwise.

The new normal in workplace productivity precludes the old-school means of quantifying success and raising productivity. While target KPIs used to be the gold standard by which employees were measured, behavioral economists now point to innovative ways of boosting enterprise productivity, without the boring one-size-fits-all approach of measuring employees against themselves and each other.

Harvard Business School professors point to the importance of behavioral economics in influencing the decision-making and problem-solving processes in the workplace.

The key to understanding this is to focus on the psychology of productivity:

Understand your organization’s demographic makeup

Younger generations are rising in participation and influence in the workforce, which means that businesses need to be more sensitive to the generational differences. Team dynamics are changing quite rapidly. Millennials now represent a large proportion of the workforce, and digital natives have different views and preferences when it comes to productivity, compared with their forebears.

Pic: WeWork

For instance, being more attuned to technology-based tools for collaborating and getting things done, you will need to likewise cater to this crowd by also using the productivity tools that work for them. Cloud-based apps that enhance mobility will work better here, rather than stick to ageing on-prem communications systems that require stringent connectivity rules.

Foster engagement across the organization

According to research, employee engagement can significantly boost performance, which can also lead to significant cost savings for businesses.

An informal survey across insurance executives in the Asia Pacific region cites employee engagement as the number one concern. The study recommends that businesses focus on career opportunities, brand alignment and recognition as few ways to improve engagement, more than just pay.

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Provide real-time feedback mechanisms

Simply pitting accomplishments against KPIs can be stressful and even inaccurate, especially given the differences in capabilities and personalities across your team members. One way to address these limitations is by adopting a gamified environment, which can encourage team members to more actively participate, especially if they can better keep track of accomplishments and achievements.

Compared with traditional means of measuring achievements, a gamified system will keep its users engaged, especially if the challenges involved are tailor-fit to their needs. A collaborative gamified environment that also includes a social aspect – instead of one that pits users against each other – can improve team dynamics.

Empower your employees with flexibility

We have previously discussed the benefits of flexibility in the workplace. With the rise of freelancing, telecommuting and remote-working arrangements, businesses can afford to provide their employees with enough flexibility to improve their work-life balance. In fact, workers who are given the flexibility to work from home or remotely are 13 percent more productive, according to studies.

This can also help reduce infrastructure costs as cloud-based productivity tools are an enabler for mobility. Team members are no longer constrained by physical location in accessing their work and collaborating with colleagues.

Establish meaningfulness

For many, pay is no longer the primary motivation for work. Rather, people want to add value – to make a big difference, rather than just be another cog in the machine. When employees feel empowered and have a sense of ownership, their engagement is significantly higher.

Of course, we’re aware that today’s startup culture values perks. However, meaningfulness in one’s work goes beyond the non-monetary perks, which are only secondary to workers’ being able to satisfy their passions, thus driving meaning in their lives.

Sadly, well-being is a priority for only a quarter of employers in the Asia Pacific region, as many don’t see the importance of investing in well-being strategies. However, organizations should be more aware of the longer-term risks and costs involved in poor stress and health management, which can lead to attrition and loss of drive among employees.

Pic: Unsplash

The takeaway

Employees who feel valued will be more inclined to put more effort into their work. When employees feel invested in the organization and therefore passionate in achieving a common goal, they will look beyond the monetary compensation and start thinking of the bigger picture. Such productivity improvements can significantly improve profits and goodwill for brands and businesses.