Increasing productivity is the dream of every project manager, and avoiding loss from decreased productivity is necessary for any business to succeed. Decreased productivity can impact your bottom line in a dramatic way. The Fiscal Times reports that the productivity lost from employees taking sick days alone costs the American economy an estimated $227 billion a year. Productivity loss from illness is somewhat unavoidable, but there are lots of productivity-slashing problems that can be eliminated with careful project management. Here’s a look at how you can create productivity benchmarks, increase productivity and monitor progress for your organization.
Benchmarking is all about how you identify the best practices in your business or industry. The first thing you should do is look at competitors in your field and see what trends they are following. Identifying current productivity levels and comparing them with potential possibilities often takes a level of analytic understanding and an eye for statistics. At its core, productivity benchmarks are established by a relatively simple formula — your organization’s productivity is equal to the number of “output units” divided by the number of “input units” you are generating. “Input Units” can mean a lot of things — capital, labor and raw materials — but “output” is always about the product or service you create with that input. Using lower input to create the same output means your organization has a higher productivity index. While this formula is somewhat abstract, it can be used to find the benchmark to measure your productivity by.
New Methods of Increased Productivity
There are endless possibilities out there when it comes to increasing productivity, but some trends are emerging in the corporate world that bear mentioning. One of these trends is workplace smartwatches, such as the Samsung Gear S, which offer employees the ability to send emails and take calls while away from their desks. Smartwatches offer features that can improve productivity in other ways as well. For instance, a queue of project approval requests can be sent to a smartwatch and approved or denied by a project manager with the click of a button wherever hr or she might be. Furthermore, a smartwatch can serve as an employee ID through dual-factor authentication and a tool to eliminate lost passwords and entry codes in favor of wireless approval. Smartwatches can be used to offer location-based notifications to employees in research facilities or on manufacturing floors to alert employees to machines that need servicing or have completed cycles. Finally, smartwatches provide employers with a non-invasive way of tracking employee movements and activities and finding those team-members whose productivity could improve.
Monitoring employee productivity can be done using a variety of methods. The best first step is to simply ask employees how they feel they are doing and to give them some ownership over productivity solutions. Often, your employees know best how things are going. A second method is gathering data and analyzing it to track employee productivity. A good example of this model of monitoring is UPS, who NPR reports tracks employee movements and deliveries through onboard systems in trucks and handheld computers that employees carry. Managers should be careful what they do with data collected in this way, and they should never discipline employees based on this data or collect data without talking to employees about it. Tracking employee productivity can feel invasive to staff if it isn’t handled sensitively, so it’s necessary to explain what is being collected and why.