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The Work Environment and Employee Productivity

Creating a work environment in which employees are productive is essential to increased profits for your organization, corporation or small business. Principles of management that dictate how, exactly, to maximize employee productivity center around two major areas of focus: personal motivation and the infrastructure of the work environment.

One of the key factors in leveraging human resources to produce the most is found through motivational incentives. While the most obvious incentive for increasing employee productivity is often thought to be based on salary and promotions, this is not always the case. In fact, recent thought on the true nature of optimal human resource management has concluded that in a large number of cases, salary has less to do with motivation than do other important factors.

What are these factors that influence employee productivity?
To begin with, it is important to recognize the truly human element in workplace relations. Step back and think for a moment—what makes people work harder? Is pay the strongest motivating force in the workplace?

Many experts have noted that workers while on the job do not produce more simply because they are being paid more. After all, it is not expected that employees will constantly calculate the monetary value of every action they perform. Workers, for instance, do not keep a record of how much they earn every time they send out an email, approve a document or complete some other task. It’s just not human nature.

How to motivate employees
What motivates good employees is the ability to see projects through to their completion. While the actual process of monitoring this flow may be the specific task of one employee—a project manager—it is important for this employee to, in turn, recognize that every employee involved in the workflow should be able to see the finished product once it is complete, and gain an understanding of his or her importance in the project as a whole.

In addition, a motivating work environment must be one in which employees are treated fairly. No matter what level of input a particular worker has in relation to the business processes as a whole, it is essential for a manager to give each employee a sense of playing a dynamic, integral role in something much larger. Indeed, engendering loyalty is a key element of motivating workers and thereby increasing the overall productivity of operations.

The power of praise
One important tool for motivating employees is praise. Effective project managers must learn how to cultivate this powerful method of worker motivation. While oftentimes largely ignored by managers in the workplace, this can be an extremely useful method of giving an individual worker a sense of worth in relation to the actual work being done. Praise has, in countless examples, been shown to dramatically increase productivity.

Setting Goals
In addition to praise, another important factor includes setting goals that correspond to the actual work being done. Realistic objectives are able to ensure that timeliness and work quality combine, and that the employee can still feel ready for the next project once the original one has been completed.

Disciplinary guidelines in the workplace
Creating disciplinary guidelines is also instrumental to fostering a work environment that is productive. After all, motivation doesn’t always have to be positive. If workers are not faced with consequences for poor performance, then productivity margins can easily shrink at a devastating rate. While everybody’s worse fear is that they will lose their job, one of a manager’s worst fears is that he or she will lose valuable talent. Instead of letting employees go who might potentially turn around and perform well under the right conditions, a manager must be creative when it comes to finding other ways to penalize workers who bring down productivity.

Generally, however, the value of consequences is not found in implementing them, but in establishing them so that the behaviors that would ultimately require their implementation simply don’t arise. It should also be mentioned that a manager will want to focus his or her workers primarily on positive reinforcement. Creating a system of tangible rewards is fundamental to

The office environment
In addition to a healthy level of communication and personal motivation in the workplace, the actual physical layout of an office is extremely important when it comes to maximizing productivity. While many managers and business owners choose to suffice with a certain minimum level of office accessories, they may be ignoring what can amount to a major obstacle on the path to increasing employee productivity.

Make sure that quality employees are given a workspace that they can call their own. Whether it’s an office, cubicle or even a desk in open space, there should be a high level of importance place on helping workers foster a sense of “place” in your company. Along with this place, office managers should ensure that equipment is ergonometric and sound.

Indeed, it has been found that a productive work environment requires management that is able to positively motivate its employees in an infrastructure that is amenable to employees’ needs.