In the previous post, Slow Business? Time to Improve Employee Productivity, we discussed how small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can improve employee productivity with the help of the Productivity Innovation and Credit (PIC) scheme and Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) WorkPro programme.

Apart from utilising extra funding, there are direct ways that employers can apply daily in the work environment to boost employee productivity.

To address one key factor that directly impacts employee productivity – their happiness. Some employers may have an archaic mindset that employees should already be thankful that they were offered a job at this firm, and working as hard as he should is only expected, so why is the employee’s happiness even a concern?

Thankfully, there are bosses who understand that employees are thankful when they were offered the position, but there are also other factors such as work-life balance, workplace environment, benefits, employer-employee rapport, interpersonal relationships and support at work, and so forth.

After all, you have employed a human being and not a robot. Human beings are not programmed work machines, they too, like yourself, have emotions, thoughts, and may fall sick from time to time.

So why should we bother about employee happiness and how does it boost productivity?

There are many factors that contribute to the employee’s overall happiness which accumulatively and collectively boosts employee productivity.

Interpersonal relationships at work plays a huge part

Especially when your employee spends at least forty hours a week at work! So rapport and support makes your employee feel that his time at work is well worth his effort.

When an employee feels supported by his managers and colleagues, it creates a sense of belonging. When the employee is happy with the inter-personal relationships at work, he feels part of the team. And when this team has goals to accomplish, it is easier for a group of connected co-workers to work towards the goals together. There is team spirit, there is synergy, there is rapport. Compare this to a group of disengaged, disinterested, and disgruntled workers who reluctantly try to get the bare minimum done so that they can call it a day.

If your employee feels connected to your company, and part of your team, he is inclined to put in extra effort just because it is also his team.

Motivation and Recognition

Sometimes it not all about money. Of course it’s great if our bosses give us incentives and OT pay, but more than often, we forget how to motivate our employees and recognise their efforts.

Simple gestures like timely praises and recognition of your employee’s initiative and hard work actually goes a long way. Would you like to work for a slave driver who does not show any appreciation for the work you do – yes, even though you are employed to do the job – and keeps criticising you and expecting more from you?

Lead by example. When you are thankful for the quality of your employee’s work, showing him that you recognise it and showing that you appreciate it is a form of positive reinforcement and motivated – he is inclined to do better the next time because he felt appreciated and recognised.

But of course, when your employee under performs, it is crucial to find out what’s bothering him. Sometimes, a simple act of showing that you care about your employee as a person goes a long way. Have a chat, figure out how you can help him with his problem and get back on track at work.

Work-Life Balance

This applies for everyone – employers and employees alike.

Most employees are in an overdrive at work, working from 7am in the morning to 11pm at night. Even though their managers appreciate their efforts and commitment, they are sacrificing their well-being. Even a utilitarian boss should see that in the long run, the employee’s productivity is dwindling. Despite clocking in a 12-hour work day, the employee may not be accomplishing much compared to another employee who maintains work-life balance by sticking to his 8-hour work day.

Overworking may take a toll on your employee’s fitness and health due to lack of quality rest, personal time and time with loved ones.

Happiness = More Productive at Work

When work is enjoyable, meaningful, challenging but not consuming, your employee would be happy to go to work. Definitely there would be down times when your employee feels the Monday blues, but this beats a dread and going-to-work-for-the-sake-of-my-paycheck.

Consider your management practices at work. Are you reaching out to your employees and keeping them happy?

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