5 things that kill productivity at work


Productivity is usually referred to as the amount of useful work done by an employee; goals achieved and targets accomplished.

While many bosses are quick to blame short attention spans of employees or the internet connection, there may be other underlying factors that may be contributing to the low levels of productivity at the workplace, which are often ignored.

Chris Major, founder and CEO of the Human Potential Project and author of ‘The Power to Transform: Passion, Power and Purpose in Daily Life’, believes that productivity issues in modern offices stem from an outdated understanding of ‘waste’.

Some factors lead to such wastage at the workplace. Some of them are mentioned below. See if your organisation is falling prey to any of these.

  1. Noisy co-workers

Although complaining about noise may seem insignificant to some, a survey by ask.com (an online question answering service) claims that 61% of employees in the U.S agree that loud colleagues are the biggest office distraction.

Excessive and continuous noise may affect the physical and mental health of many employees. This noise pollution could be from noisy co-workers, office machines, or even some construction taking place nearby.

Either way, it can lead to disturbed emotions, hindrance in work and most importantly a low level of productivity overall.

  1. Bureaucratic style

Quite a lot of companies these days operate with a bureaucratic culture, making employees work in increasingly complex structures with procedures designed to control everything.

Although this may be applicable or in some cases essential, such as the security sector, etc. but in other industries where human resource is the company’s greatest asset, this might limit their chances of progressing at work.

Employees are usually paid to think, come up with innovative ideas and collaborate with colleagues in order to produce the best possible results. So why dictate their every move with stiff policies?

  1. Lack of value at work

Some workplaces are so systematic that work is seen as a series of tasks which have commercial value.

This puts little or no sense of value in the work of an individual worker. When a culture similar to this develops at the workplace, employees do not feel the need to add in extra effort or input towards the production process or to the business in general.

The monotonous work may in some cases get very tiresome for workers, which may, in turn, drop the input level and thus the output level by employees to a great extent.

If business leaders shift away from bureaucratic leadership styles and take a keen interest in the employees work, productivity levels will immensely increase.

For instance, AirG takes into account the wellbeing and the effort put in by employees; reviews are taken from their teams and every obstacle faced by employees at work is discussed and dealt with accordingly.

  1. Open Spaces

Although working in teams or quality circles may at times be very mentally stimulating for an employee but according to another online survey by ask.com, 85% of respondents preferred working alone to hit maximum productivity.

This could be best planned by the employer by assigning different cubicles to workers or providing a separate working space for employees.

A similar concept as such was adopted by Cisco, “During the rapid growth period, we had no choice but to share the workspace because we could not acquire a bigger space fast enough,” says Ross (manager in the workplace effectiveness team).

In order to prevent this, employees could log in from any cubicle present with an IP phone as their own, using the Extension Mobility feature of Cisco Call Manager servers, providing them with privacy and personal space to work from.

  1. Not listening

In some workplaces, the authority is not to be questioned; workers are not even given a chance to put forth their views.

In such cases, the incentive to work diminishes over time in employees and the output to worker rate gradually decreases.

As mentioned in Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs, esteem needs are critical for employees to be highly motivated at work, which in turn leads to high productivity.

Productivity is an essential element for business success, as productivity leads to the production of more goods or better service to consumers, which translate into higher profits. Therefore, this is not something that should be overlooked by businesses.

Author Bio:

Alma Causey is a blogger by choice.  She loves to discover lives and world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences and express herself through her blogs.

Alma Clausey

Find her on Twitter:@Almacausey