Boosting productivity under scrutiny for small businesses

Flexible working hours, a good night's sleep, and praise from the boss are the 'holy trinity' of cost-free ways to boost productivity, research finds.

Financial rewards remain the best way to motivate employees overall, according to research by office space search engine Office Genie.

Almost half (49 per cent) of employees surveyed chose pay rises and more than a third (36 per cent) chose bonus incentives when asked to select their top three boosts to productivity.

However, the data also reveals the most popular ways to make staff more productive that cost businesses nothing.

Flexible working is likely to boost productivity amongst more than a fifth (22 per cent) of the workforce, while encouraging employees to get a good night’s sleep and offering praise where it’s due will boost productivity among a fifth (20 per cent) of workers, finds the study of more than 1,000 office workers. 

Some employers might want to rethink their trendy workplace setup as one in seven (14 per cent) employees lists a ‘quiet working environment’ among their top three boosts to productivity while, by contrast, just 2 per cent say a loud and buzzing office would improve their output, and just 3 per cent are made more productive by the lure of free snacks.

More than one in ten (12 per cent) employees think the freedom to choose where they work, be it from home, the office or a café, might make them more productive. Almost one in ten (9 per cent) say they’d be more productive if they had shares in the company.

No matter how high up the career ladder people get, a ‘well done’ from the boss is still important, more so to younger members of staff. More than a quarter (27 per cent) of employees, aged 16-24, cited praise from the boss as one of their top three boosts to productivity; almost twice as many as their colleagues aged over 55 (16 per cent).

Women are slightly more likely to be made more productive by financial incentives. More than half (51 per cent) say a pay rise would boost their productivity, compared to 48 per cent of men, while 37 per cent wanted bonus incentives, compared to 35 per cent of men. Women also value the flexibility to work from home (14 per cent) above their male colleagues (10 per cent).

Ciaron Dunne, CEO of Office Genie says, ‘The Chancellor’s Summer Budget revealed the government’s mission to boost Britain’s productivity, and that begins in the workplace.

‘Money will motivate most people, but business owners who can’t afford to dish out pay rises and bonuses may take solace in knowing there are several ways to boost productivity that will cost their company absolutely nothing.’ 

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