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Q&A: A happier workforce helps productivity

Q: The winter months are a struggle for our business not in terms of business but getting employees motivated in the early part of the year, especially when it seems a while off until the next bank holiday. How do I keep everyone motivated?

A: Ensuring the wellbeing of your workplace will help motivation and boost morale. It may not seem as a priority or a task of importance, however a happy workforce will lead to greater productivity. A working environment that has the wellbeing of staff at heart will also see a significant reduction in absence and productivity will be boosted.

January and February should be a time when you sit down with your employees and management, set out objectives for the year ahead, look at what you both expect from each other. The power of communication and setting shared goals is understated and can also help boost morale especially if the employee has the support and tools of management. What they also do is give ‘one-on-one’ time with the people who essentially are the most important commodity of your business. You may have advisers who are based out on the road, you may not see them often – so personal meetings can be essential. Also feel free to ask about their lives and show that you genuinely care, naturally without being intrusive. Remember to praise their previous achievements – you will be surprised at the reaction and this certainly will help boost morale.

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Did you know turning a blind eye to people continually working late or worse, encouraging it, will lead to an unhealthy workforce? There are companies now that actually build into their IT equipment a process to ensure emails are not sent or calls made after 8pm. What they are seeing is an increase in productivity. Why? Because when we have no fixed start and end time we tend to fit work into a 10-hour window as opposed to 7.5. We stretch out our work and become less efficient because we are tired. Tell your employees you want them to take lunch breaks and you do not always want them to be burning the candles at both ends, especially those who are driving for much of the day.

Socialising and feeling part of a team is very important. Consider once a month having a Friday where everyone brings in food and you have a buffet for lunch.

Remember also that people do not leave their personal problems at the door. Events in the personal lives of employees can be a productivity killer for your business. Address this by creating an environment where people are actively encouraged to speak and to seek the help available to them.

David Price is managing director of Health Assured