October 22, 2020
Performance Management 21 October 2020
Common Obstacles Preventing Productivity In The Workplace
Guest Poster

Workplace productivity can make or break a company. If employees fail to complete their workload during office hours, the business suffers immensely. This causes undue stress for all parties involved, but it’s not a problem that’s easy to solve. 

Many everyday factors have a negative influence on productivity. Without finding a way to target these, employers can’t hope to improve staff output during the workday. 

In order to improve productivity in the workplace, we must first overcome obstacles that prevent us from working at our full potential. Some of the obstacles affecting productivity are incredibly common. While all problems should be dealt with over time, these are the issues that employers should tackle before anything else.


Lack of Training

When someone is hired for a job, they might not be skilled in every aspect of it. There’s more to a person’s credentials than whether they know everything about the position they’ve applied for. Gaps in someone’s knowledge or experience can easily be filled in with on-the-job training. However, the number of employees who fail to have received this is staggeringly low.2017 report found that a mere 31% of Americans were provided with formal job training. If a member of staff doesn’t know what they’re doing, they’ll make mistakes, or fail to complete their work. This causes frustration for everyone, and productivity starts to decrease. It’s in an employer’s best interests for their staff to be fully trained in every aspect of the job, even if money is tight. Shradha Kumari, HR Manager at SurveySensum says, 

Most of the time employees are facing a number of errors that directly impact the organization's productivity. Job training helps each member of the organization to learn from their mistakes, increases their knowledge and skills, and raises their level of competence as an employee.

Training is given to an employee to enhance an individual’s performance and thereby increase their productivity level. Training programs should be launched only after identifying the needs of the organization. It should fulfill the gap between the existing and required levels of knowledge, skills and aptitude.

Don't let untrained employees negatively affect your company! One of the best ways to know what training is needed in your company is through the use of succession planning. When done properly, your employees will know exactly what skills they need to learn to excel in their jobs as well as which training programs to take for pay raises and promotions in the company.  


Lack of Communication

No workplace can run efficiently without communication. What a lot of employers fail to realize is that talking to their employees does not constitute good communication if there’s no discussion about performance and problems. 

Someone who tells their boss that “everything is fine” might not be telling the truth, but they don’t feel able to open up about their issues. This is because the employer has failed to establish strong communication channels with their staff early on.

Engaging with employees is important for ensuring productivity, as well as retention. Without it, people won’t feel comfortable in their job, or even know how to do it. Rather than simply asking for help, an employee who can’t communicate with their boss will try to struggle through on their own. The result of this is either a bad piece of work or no work at all. If there’s no communication, there is no engagement in the workplace and the business will never be able to thrive. Antonella Weidman, Digital Marketing Manager at WebTek says,

When you have strong communication, you can work harder and smarter every day! The best way for a team to communicate while working depends on the task and how the information can be gathered most efficiently. There are many ways teams can communicate throughout the day including face to face, through emails, with work management tools like Asana, and collaboration software like Slack.

Find the tools that work best for your team. Make the organizational structure and chain of command clear from the very start and set your new hires up with mentors that they can turn to if they have questions about their job responsibilities. It doesn't always have to be a manager, you could try connecting them with more experienced coworkers that have the potential for leadership. Always be sure that everybody knows who they report to so that there is accountability throughout every level of the company.


Bad Working Environment

Different people work better under different conditions. It’s something that’s talked about a lot but is unfortunately hard to deal with. There are things you can do to make your workspace inspire productivity and creativity and create a workspace that eliminates distractions. Do your best to make your workspace environment suitable for as many people as possible. 

Elements like office lighting or temperature control can be a nightmare in the workplace because what is normal for one person might not be ideal for another. Overly warm or cold office spaces can be harmful to concentration, leading to a decrease in productivity. 80% of the workforce regularly complains about the office temperature. Little things like these conditions can become more than just a minor inconvenience if not addressed quickly.

Ensure employees have the space necessary to do their work. Although it's good for coworkers to have chances to socialize and work together, be sure to allocate private areas where employees can focus and concentrate. Encourage employees to keep their workspace organized and even personalize their areas. Adeel Shabir, the Content Marketing Executive at GigWorker recommends the following:

The computer desk is the first way to make sure that your productivity level is increased. First thing when you come to the office and start working at your desk, it should be clean and have no clutter on it. When you leave for home from the office, make sure you clean it for the next day. Make sure you have green on your desk, small plants, or something that makes you happy.


Lack of Benefits or Growth

Although people should apply for a job because they’re passionate about the work, that’s no longer the only incentive. There’s an expectation from employees that a job needs to provide benefits for it to be worthwhile. If there are few to no benefits offered, people will be less inclined to work. Moreover, the work that they do put in may not be done to their best ability. 

Wanting incentives isn’t unreasonable. They show that a person’s effort is acknowledged and appreciated. Plus, what employees are asking for isn’t excessive. Things like good healthcare and pension schemes are understandable in this current climate, and luckily there is software available that makes it easier than ever for employers to set this up.

A flexible work schedule is often strongly desired by employees, as are opportunities to advance within the companyIndividuals can get complacent in their roles if they don’t feel challenged or don’t feel there are future positions for growth within the company. This leads to a lack of motivation, decreased performance, and in many cases, employee turnover. According to Carl Robinson, Ph.D., from Advanced Leadership Consulting.

Top-flight employees want and need to have growth opportunities. They will not stay very long where they don't feel challenged and where they don't feel their bosses take their development seriously.

Be clear about the opportunities available through your company's succession planning and pathways. This ensures you always have high-quality employees ready to take on new and more challenging roles, mentally and skills-wise.

These are just a few of the most common obstacles affecting productivity, but they aren’t the only ones. Productivity within the workplace will never be consistent. Employees have bad days, and some workloads are easier than others. However, combating the important problems will at least ensure that everyone is doing their best.