Employee productivity is a very important part of any workforce. It serves as a measure of the output work that each member of staff churns out daily.
In order to keep employee productivity at its highest, employers have to be aware of the fact that it isn’t just the direct working conditions that affect this statistic, but environmental factors that occur away from their desks, too.
Even if you, yourself are not an employer or HR manager, it’s worth following these hints and tips for more productive work life, or better yet, share this with your employer (if you’re brave enough).
Here are seven ways to increase employee productivity away from the desk.
1) Improve the lunch menu
It goes without saying that it’s necessary to eat in order to feel refreshed and regain energy after a long morning of monotonous work. Research has proven that healthier and more sophisticated food choices can increase employee engagement and operating margin. So why skimp on something that serves as the fuel that helps drive your employees?
Work on improving the lunch offerings at the workplace cafeteria, and include brain foods like fish, nuts, bananas, rice, porridge, and other forms of protein, and try to put in a wide variety of choices.
2) Incorporate standing desks
Many have turned their noses up at this idea and written it off as a passing fad. But the truth is that it can increase focus and energy levels, and it has even prevented headaches and helped employees quit smoking!
There’s also the most obvious benefit, which is that it improves health, meaning you’ll have healthier and happier workers. Studies have even backed the standing desk and noted a huge increase in productivity. Google and Facebook utilize standing desks – why not your office, too?
3) Install water machines strategically
Water coolers are an essential part of the workplace, as they keep employees hydrated and refreshed. They also serve as a quick escape to let out a little steam every now and then. So make sure the office water dispenser is installed within a very short distance from the working space.
If you’re concerned about employees chatting too much while they’re there, set those worries aside! Having workers socially connect with each other at a water cooler can actually lead to a 10-15% boost in productivity.
4) Make sure employees get fresh air
The presence of fresh air greatly improves cognitive ability, and poor, stale office air can actually cause poor health. It’s so commonplace that it’s developed into a syndrome with a name: Sick Building Syndrome (SBS). SBS causes headaches, eye irritation, coughing, and tightness in the chest.
It’s been proven many times that fresh air boosts productivity and cognitive performance. Of course, it’s not always possible to redesign an entire building to promote a greener environment. So, find a compromise. Encourage five-minute meetings in an outdoor space or allow brief breaks every hour for fresh air if employees request them.
5) Encourage lunchtime walks
The lack of physical activity performed during a long day at the desk at work isn’t good for keeping attention spans up. Employees need a change of pace to be able to refresh themselves. A study has found that those who took a walk during lunch just three times a week for a period of half an hour became more enthusiastic for work and less tense.
Other research has also suggested that these walks can greatly improve creativity, lead to increases in productivity and that in the long run, those who walk frequently or more often actually preserve more gray matter in their brains. That’s a lot of benefits from something that seems so simple!
6) Plan outdoor activities for team building exercises
In previous points, it’s been iterated that social interaction, fresh air, and physical activity are great for employee productivity. So why not combine these factors into one and organize outdoor team building events?
An “adventure day” like this is a great opportunity for employees to get to know each other better and work on their teamwork and communication. It also helps build trust between colleagues.
These lessons learned can be applied to their work, encouraging them to unite behind a common goal, improve communication, and solve conflicts among themselves. Ultimately, this leads to a more productive working environment.
7) Encourage exercise in general
The benefits of exercise know no bounds, and you want your workforce to be healthy. Exercise has unmeasured plus sides when it comes to productivity and work performance. It keeps people alert and focused, and as mentioned previously, even walks can increase energy levels, improve brain function, and even spark creativity.
That’s because physical exercise stimulates the production of mitochondria within cells, leading to a more energized brain. On top of that, exercise has been proven to be one of the best ways to make people happy, and happiness leads to more productivity!
And of course, more exercise means healthier staff, which means more work gets done in the long run. So, try encouraging exercise among your employees in any way that you can. Why not try workplace sponsored charity runs?
In short, treat your employees well, and you’ll see a boost in activity.
Remember that investments into your staff’s comfort and happiness will pay you back in high returns in the long run.