Contributed by AXA PPP Healthcare
24/01/2019 - AXA PPP Healthcare
Employee productivity is particularly important in small businesses, where resources are more limited than they would be in a large company. According to a study by Opus Energy, 86% of UK SME’s claim that productivity is an issue.
Before implementing strategies to improve workplace productivity, small business owners may wish to measure how their team are currently working in order to identify sticking points.
In a workplace context, productivity could be defined as the amount of work (or output) that an employee produces during their shift (their input). So put simply, the productivity of a baker could be measured by how many items they bake during their shift.
There is a simple formula that is often used in businesses: Productivity = output ÷ input
However, it isn’t always as simple to measure it in such a tangible way. The way in which you measure it within your business can depend on the industry that you operate in. Each industry and each job role within that industry would need a different method in order to measure how productively people are working. How can a firm of accountants, for example, measure it when they aren’t necessarily producing a physical product? Save for setting your team a task and timing how long they take to complete it, is there a way to measure productivity in these non-tangible industries?
Alongside the method of how it’s measured within a business, there can be other challenges that business owners may face when analysing how effectively people are working.
In customer service roles, such as call centre staff, the traditional method of measuring productivity would be the number of calls that a customer service representative takes during their shift. However, this doesn’t take into account the level of service that was delivered to customers. Employees who have their productivity measured in this way may be tempted to rush through calls in order to fit as many as possible into their shifts without taking into account the quality of the service that they are providing.
This is where the importance of monitoring efficiency comes in. While productivity looks at the output produced by an employee in comparison to their input (the amount of time they’ve spent at work, for example), efficiency looks at the quality of work that they produce as well as the output. As a result, some businesses might look to combine the measurement of the two by only including the output that is of a good quality.
Productivity in the workplace can often be confused with the amount of hours that an employee spends in the office. If someone is staying in the office until gone 7pm when everyone else has gone home, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are working harder than everybody else. Rather than monitoring the amount of time that someone is in the office for, productivity should be measured by the actual output that they are producing and the quality of their work.
Measuring and monitoring productivity levels can have a number of benefits for small businesses. Alongside giving you the opportunity to see output levels within your business, it also allows you to keep track of the service levels that your team is providing your customers. This can help you to maintain a consistent level of customer service across your business.
Productivity measurement can also help you to identify particular areas or processes within your business that might be causing unnecessary delays to your team’s workflows. This can help you to streamline the processes within your business to ensure that your team is able to get the most out of their working days.
Measuring workplace efficiency may also have benefits for the employee as well as the business. The use of productivity measurement tools may highlight particular times of the day when people are the most focused. Someone might be able to concentrate better in the mornings, for example, than they are past 3pm. This could mean that this particular person might favour a more flexible work schedule that allows them to start work earlier in the morning and leave earlier. This could benefit both the employee, as they are able to have a more flexible working structure, and the business, as they would be in the office during the time when they are the most productive.
If there’s a need to improve productivity within your business, there are a number of measures that you can take:
There isn’t a one size fits all approach when it comes to measuring how productively your team is working. It requires a much more tailored and personalised method in order to be the best fit for your business and industry. While it comes with its own set of challenges, there are also a lot of benefits associated with measuring the productivity and efficiency of your team for both the business and your people.
For more information, please visit AXA PPP healthcare.
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