Workplace productivity is simply the amount (or volume) of work that employees in a particular organization get done within a particular period of time. It more or less refers to how efficiently the employees of said organization works with high productivity meaning that they get as much work as possible done and that they are maximizing their potential and low productivity indicating that they are doing way less than they are capable of.
We can think of workplace productivity in terms of turnover; for instance, how many products do workers at a factory churn out in a day? Can they do much better? How many spreadsheets did the data analyst go through in a day? Is that enough or can a lot more be done? Workplace productivity refers to the amount of work done and how efficiently it is being done.
Having high workplace productivity helps you utilize your resources efficiently. On the other hand, low workplace productivity results in inefficient utilization of resources which translates to loss on your part. By ensuring that your workplace productivity is as high as possible, you will save costs which will, in turn, lead to a better balance sheet, happy stakeholders, better chances of success in the marketplace and lots more.
By understanding which factors cause low workplace productivity and those that influence high workplace productivity, you can strategize and plan things to put in place to ensure that your employees work as efficiently as possible. That is to say that you will be able to implement factors and practices that will boost your employees’ productivity and eliminate those that will hamper their productivity.
As already mentioned, workplace productivity is the amount of work your employees get done within a certain period of time. You can calculate the productivity of your employees by dividing their total output by the total input their total input. Total output refers to the total work done by your employees while total input, on the other hand, refers to the number of hours they spend working along whichever other resources they utilize in accomplishing their tasks. (We have written a related article - What is the productivity measurement formula?)
Therefore, depending on what type of company you run whether it is a service-based company or product-based, the total output divided by the total input lets you know just how productive your employees are.
Having high workplace productivity offers many benefits to an organization some of which have already been mentioned. Some of the advantages that a company gets from increasing the productivity of its employees are discussed below.
Having high workplace productivity means that you will accomplish more with less. That is to say that your employees are doing more work in lesser time and with much fewer resources. This will translate to more profit for your organization and as such, satisfied and contented investors and stakeholders and a heartwarming balance sheet at the end of the fiscal year. When there is high workplace productivity, not only will you increase your company’s profit-making, you will also increase your company’s profit margin. Profit margin refers to the amount of profit a company makes off every money spent.
Having high workplace productivity will also translate to growth for your company. Whether as a result of an increased profit margin or because more products are being manufactured (or services being offered), high workplace productivity predisposes your company to growth and development.
One of the ways in which high workplace productivity can lead to growth and advancement for a company is in the purchase of new equipment to do accomplish even more work, the hiring of more employees to assist those already available, as well as the boost to invest in new projects that will help push the company forward. Consequently, a highly productive workplace is quite important in the advancement and growth of an organization.
Another of the many benefits that high workplace productivity provides a company is that it enables them to meet their customers’ demands. Since the employees of such a company are producing as much as possible and are working as efficiently as possible, meeting the demands of customers would not constitute any problem. In the event that the employees on ground are unable to meet up, the organization would have no hassle whatsoever hiring new employees and purchasing more equipment since they know that resources are being maximized and utilized effectively.
Competition is something that is good for businesses in that it forces them to be innovative and find better ways of accomplishing tasks. When there is competition, an organization would be kept on its toes and as such, would give its best be it services or products. And when one particular company is being very productive and efficient, other companies in the same industry would have no choice but to keep up which would lead to research being conducted into better ways of accomplishing tasks and consequently to innovation.
Good-natured competition bodes well for both companies and consumers. It forces companies to give nothing less than their best which translates to them maximizing their potential and constantly innovating. Good-natured competition also bodes well for consumers in that it enables them to get the best services and products possible and at prices that are lesser than they would otherwise be if there was no competition.
Another benefit of improved workplace productivity is the fact that it leads to employees having more job satisfaction and engagement. This increase in the satisfaction derived from their job will, in turn, result in them having higher morale which will translate to further increase in productivity. (We have written a related article - Workplace Health And Safety, Business Productivity And Sustainability)
When workplace productivity is low, the cost of accomplishing tasks and producing will be high. What this signifies is a reduction in profit margin as well as in profit generally. The company will be spending much more than is required on its production process which will, consequently, precipitate other problems.
Low workplace productivity by definition means that a larger amount of resources than is required is being used to accomplish a certain degree of work. What this means is that where $50 could have been used to accomplish a particular task, $70 is being used. As such, resources are underutilized and there will be a reduction in output.
When an organization has low work productivity, its ability to compete with its peers in the same industry will be greatly hampered. Low work productivity translates to a low-profit-margin for an organization which means that resources are not being utilized effectively. As such, there won’t be much incentive to invest in technologies and practices that will allow such an organization to compete with its peers. There is also the fact that the stakeholders and investors will be uninspired and will, consequently, not feel any inclination to support whatever growth and development efforts such an organization wants to do.
There are several factors that affect workplace productivity which must be catered to by employers so as to ensure that the productivity of their employees is at a maximum level. Some of these factors are:
1. Temperature changes: employees must ensure that individual thermal satisfaction is achieved
2. Inadequate equipment: the unavailability of adequate equipment can also adversely affect workplace productivity.
3. Building lighting: poor lighting makes it difficult to work and as such, adversely affects workplace productivity. Too bright lighting might also result in headaches and migraines and should also be avoided.
4. Lack of recognition: when employees are not recognized and appreciated for their efforts, their productivity is bound to reduce.
5. Employee satisfaction: yet another thing that affects workplace productivity is employee satisfaction. Dissatisfied employees will definitely not be as productive as they can be. (We have written a related article - What is Workplace Productivity and How can You Enhance Employee Productivity?)
In this article, we will focus on individual thermal satisfaction and how it influences workplace productivity.
Individual thermal satisfaction refers to how what temperature a particular person feels comfortable at. That is to say that individual thermal satisfaction is the condition where a person is not feeling like the temperature is either too cold or too hot. Individual thermal satisfaction is, therefore, the temperature that an individual feels the most comfortable and satisfied with. Individual thermal satisfaction as the name suggests is subjective and different for different people. Individual thermal satisfaction is an experience that is personal to each individual even if they are within the same space and wearing the same type of clothing.
Research has shown that individual thermal satisfaction is quite important in the workplace as a working environment in which the employees are dissatisfied with the thermal condition will, eventually, suffer a loss of productivity. That is to say that workplace productivity can directly be linked to individual thermal satisfaction (also called thermal comfort.) As such, it is very important that the comfort of employees within the work environment is not taken for granted. In order to ensure that workplace productivity is as high as possible such that resources are being utilized efficiently, it is important to ensure that there is as much individual satisfaction as possible.
There are several factors that influence individual thermal satisfaction and they can be split into two basic categories; environmental factors and individual factors. Some of these factors are discussed below.
1. The rate of metabolism of the individual: This is an individual factor seeing as it is specific to each individual. Different people have different rates at which they metabolize food. Apart from the fact that bodies metabolize food differently, the kind of activities being engaged in also has an effect on the rate and degree of metabolism of food by the body.
2. Physical fitness: yet another factor that influences individual thermal satisfaction is how physically fit a person is. Somebody who experienced thermal satisfaction at a particular temperature just a few days back might not find comfort at the same temperature just a couple of days after due to a change in how physically fit he/she is. As such, physical fitness also influences individual thermal satisfaction. It is also an individual factor.
3. Perception: yet another individual factor that influences individual thermal satisfaction is individual perception. That is to say that certain people are actually not satisfied with a particular temperature not because their body is not comfortable with it but because their minds are predisposed to feeling uncomfortable at said temperature.
4. The type of clothing worn: the type of clothing worn by an individual will also influence whether that individual experiences thermal comfort or not. The type of clothing is an environmental factor though, and so, can easily be changed. It shouldn’t come as a shock in the first place that the kind of clothing employees put on will affect how they feel about the temperature of an environment.
5. Level of activity: yet another environmental factor that influences whether or not a particular employee experiences individual thermal satisfaction is the level of activity such a person engages in. The body naturally burns food to produce energy and heat when humans are engaged in one activity or the other especially if it is strenuous.
6. Air temperature: air temperature is another environmental factor that affects the individual thermal satisfaction of employees. That isn’t hard to figure out as the air temperature of a particular environment is felt by those in that environment. It is probably the single biggest influence on individual thermal satisfaction of people.
7. Radiant temperature: radiant temperature refers to the process by which heat is transferred from the body to objects in the surroundings. An example is radiation which is a process by which heat is transferred from one object to another without any physical contact being involved. Radiant temperature is an environmental factor that affects individual thermal satisfaction (heat from a light fixture or computer monitor).
If you are genuinely interested in increasing workplace productivity, then, it is essential that you ensure that individual thermal satisfaction is achieved. If you are to achieve that goal, you should investigate the following:
1. Have an environmental monitoring and control system that will help adjust the air temperature to a comfortable level
2. Relax office dress code so that employees can wear clothes that allow them to achieve thermal comfort, you can even go as far as providing cloak and locker rooms for employees to change and put down their coats in extreme weather conditions.
3. Adjust your working hours such that there are different start and finish times (allow flexible working hours so that employees can come in at the time they feel the most comfortable and productive)
4. Allow employees to own personal equipment that will allow them to achieve individual thermal satisfaction such as desk fans. You can even provide this for those who need it.
5. Provide hot and cold drinks for your employees to take when they feel the need. This can help cool or warm them up as they wish.
6. Provide workspace with different tempareture set points and allow employees to move freely from space to space
Several research points to the fact that thermal discomfort can be quite detrimental to both physical and mental health and thus, lead to reduced workplace productivity.
- An environment that is too hot or too cold can lead to illness as it will lead to the growth of bacteria and mold.
- An environment that is too hot can induce heat stroke in employees and can cause them to collapse
- An environment that is too cold can lead to great feelings of discomfort and negatively affect employee mood.
Achieving individual thermal satisfaction is quite essential if an organization is looking to efficiently utilize its resources and have high workplace productivity.
That is why this article has been written to give deeper insight into what individual thermal productivity entails and how it influences employee productivity. This understanding and knowledge can, thereafter, be used by an employer, to ensure that employees are comfortable. Achieving this comfort will, thus, predispose them to be way more productive than they otherwise would be.
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