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Workplace Productivity Hacks

by Roy Chambers (follow)
Business Basics (34)      Productivity (11)     
Productive workplaces are the result of many different factors, many of them dependent on brilliant management and inspiring leadership. There are also a number of hacks you can implement that increase productivity.

Note: A hack is a quick tip or trick to achieve your goal or solve a problem.

Attribution: Pixabay - geralt

Plants in the workplace

A recent study found that plants in the office can increase productivity by 15%. Apparently it helps make staff feel that their boss cares more about them. However it could have been the other way around. It might have been that bosses who care about their staff increases productivity and allow plants in the office. But generally speaking bare office environments are less productive.

Attribution: Flickr - Dave Fayram

Note: I have seen a few failed companies that enforce a tidy desk rule, telling staff to remove all personal items, coffee cups, plants and even work they are currently doing from their desks when important customers are visiting. A tidy desk indicates that people aren't busy or productive.

Just care about your staff

Being a business owner or manager involves all sorts of hassles and problems it is hard to care about your staff, but when you do care about your staff productivity increases. A staff member who is able to leave the office on time every day to pick up their kids from school or after school care will be grateful and put more effort into their job. If you are given a new chair for your bad back or hand rests for your wrists, you feel that the business cares about you.

Attribution: KMO Foto

If you care a little less about your bottom line and more about your staff, then your bottom line will also improve.

The right equipment

Staff given old and outdated computer equipment usually end up less productive than those that have the latest gadgets. Worse yet, when staff who have heavy workloads have worse equipment than management who might only use their computers to check their email and maybe type up a few documents, there is a lot of resentment.

Attribution: Flickr - Kathy

Yes, you guessed it. Not only does having the right equipment make us more productive because now we can get on with our work, having the right equipment makes us feel like the boss cares about us, so we work more diligently.

Workplace ergonomics

There is a simply act that I do a lot to help people be more productive. I stand on a chair (I know, I know, I should use a ladder) and pull out one of the fluorescent tubes in the ceiling light.

Attribution: Flickr - U.S. Department of Agriculture

It isn't that I think that staff should be working in the dark, it is that often many offices are too bright. People usually complain about headaches and I look at the glaring light in the room and do the light trick. If you want to do it properly you use light meter to measure the light at the desk and adjust it accordingly. And yes, there is an App for that you can download for your phone.

Other things include making sure the temperature is right. In most office buildings some rooms end up too warm and others too cold. The reason is that there is a big pipe that directs the air around the building and the rooms are put in later, which means some rooms receive more cold air than others. But, despite what people tell you, it is easily and cheaply fixed by adjusting the vents in the air duct to adjust the amount of air each room gets (just call the building maintenance guys).


One of the most powerful feelings in the world is control. Being able to decide for yourself what time you arrive or leave work, when you take your lunch break, or the order that you do your tasks all give you a sense of control.

Attribution: Jared and Corin

Great managers give their staff a sense of control over their lives. For example being able to arrive a little later in the morning and leave later often give staff a sense of control. They miss the morning and evening peak traffic and as a result you will see these staff working away at night. Should they have an early morning meeting or a deadline you will still see them arriving early in the morning, before others arrive.

Even the illusion of control is powerful. For example, one of the classic ones is providing every staff member with their own personal temperature control. The trick is that this control is a dummy control and doesn't actually change the temperature in the office at all. However adjusting it makes people happier with the temperature.

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