The productivity of your employees is key to the success of your business.
While you may know that employee morale and training improve productivity, you might not be exactly sure how to increase your employees’ output and efficiency and the tactics that work best.
In this article, we look at a study that provides insight for increasing employee productivity, and we give you some tools for moving forward.
Sociometric Solutions Study
This study was conducted by MIT Sociometric Solutions. They used employee identification badges with built-in Bluetooth sensors to track people’s behavior.
These sensors could show when employees were leaning in. This suggested they were engaged in a conversation.
They could also track the speed at which employees spoke. This helped gauge vigor, lethargy, tone of voice and speaking levels. These things showed them the stress levels of employees. The higher and faster someone spoke, the higher their stress level.
To gather data, they placed readers around offices to collect data and send it to the cloud. Individual employees could look at their own data, but their employers only saw anonymous results.
Sociometric combined this information with employee-performance data from surveys, interviews and performance metrics to tell management how they could create a more productive office.
Call Center Review
In one of Sociometric’s first studies, they reviewed a Bank of America call center and tracked their employees for three months.
Their first data point was to find out if allowing certain employees to take a break together would improve productivity.
They thought that allowing groups of people to take breaks together, they could let go of stress and share customer service tips.
Once Bank of America started allowing people to enjoy break time together, they measured a 15-20% rise in productivity, a 19% drop in stress levels and a whopping decrease in turnover from 40% to 12%.
What did they gain from this study that took 2,000 hours of data into consideration? They predicted that close-knit groups of co-workers who spoke frequently together were more satisfied and got their work done more efficiently.
The same study showed that communication overload in the form of excess email and a lack of person-to-person interaction created employees with low concentration levels and decreased job satisfaction.
Bank of America used the results and rearranged its office layout so close-kit employees could work near each other. They also dropped the number of teams to encourage stronger interaction.
Throughout years of studies, Sociometric has gleaned some pretty interesting things.
Their next study involved an online travel agency. They looked at various employees’ lunchtime interactions.
They found that the number of people an employee ate lunch with predicted their job performance levels.
Sociometric noticed that some people ate with 11 people at 12-seat tables while others only sat with three people at four-seat tables.
The employees who sat at the larger tables were 36% more productive during the week.
What’s more, when the travel agency started laying off employees, the ones who ate lunch with more people had 30% less stress than those who sat at smaller tables.
Why does how many people an employee eats lunch with affect their productivity? These workers grew larger networks, were more involved with each other and had a larger group of people to share work stories with and seek advice and discuss problems.
Sociometric’s findings reached far into the technology sector as these companies began installing larger cafeteria tables to increase employee productivity.
Most of Sociometric’s findings show that employees need more social interaction in the workplace. They need to communicate more in person and less through email and texts.
An employee’s ability to collaborate and share is a great predictor of productivity.
Relationships Vital to Productivity
Now that we’ve looked at this study, and it’s provided insight for increasing employee productivity, what can you do to enhance it in your own office?
First, recognize that relationships are vital to productivity. In our increasingly mobile world, it’s easy to forget that humans were built to communicate in person.
Highly engaged employees are productive and provide greater returns for your company. They also turn over at a lower rate.
It’s also good to know that productive employees are more likely to attract new hires to your business. Because positive relationships with co-workers are key to employee morale, you can bet it rubs off on others.
When workers care about their co-workers, their efficiency rises.
Try and create ways to support employee relationships. Create an open office environment where conversations can take place daily.
Acknowledge that this is important to the success of your company.
It appears that your employees’ productivity and the success of your company depends on employee conversation. Effective communication is vital to the health of your business.
The team that communicates with one another and shares personal and professional conversation is strong, more productive and empowered to do a good job.
Provide training on effective communication. Encourage employee interaction. Allow for daily interactions among your staff.
Your professional success depends on it.
Do you have a favorite way to increase employee productivity? What’s worked in your office? Please comment below to share your tips with others.