Let me start by staying that the only person you can “make” more productive is yourself. You don’t have ultimate control over others, that includes your employees. There are, however, things you can put in place to help and support them to be more productive. Here are some questions that can help you to improve the current situation:
Creating a more productive environment
Office layout/home working set-up
Is your office laid out in such a way that it promotes productivity? Can your employees work undisturbed? Is there an option for them to retreat for focussed work?
For employees working from home – do they have a dedicated workspace? What can you do to support them to set up a productive working environment?
Expectations and open communication
Does everyone know in detail what’s expected of them? Can employees have open conversations with you and the management team? Is there a culture of trust and mutual respect?
Get to know your employees
Do you know what makes your employees tick? What motivates them? Why did they take the job in the first place?
If goals and targets are met and exceeded, is this celebrated and rewarded? Employee of the month may sound corny, but recognition goes a long way.
Lead by example
How is your own productivity? Do you take long lunches but stay late? Is it frowned upon to leave before management? (This kind of behaviour breeds presenteeism.) Or do you lead by example with sticking to working hours and making the most of your time?
Also, unless you can create next level loyalty, your employees will not follow you into burnout if you insist on 90hour weeks for yourself, as it’s not their business. By the way, I would not recommend this for yourself or your employees.
Giving your employees the tools to be more productive
Training incl. time management training
Do you provide all the necessary training for your employees to do their jobs to the best of their abilities? Do you provide continuing training such as time management, communication, and other soft skills?
Best possible technology
Are your employees equipped with the best possible equipment? Outdated technology (laptops, phones, etc.) is a key factor for low productivity.
Proven processes and workflows in place
Do you have documented best practice processes, workflows and checklists that employees can follow? Are they regularly updated with employee input? Employees find shortcuts all the time, reward them for positive suggestions that make it into the handbook.
Give them more responsibilities with decision making
Can you increase your employees’ responsibility with regards to decision making? If they have to ask a manager for every decision to be made, this will slow everything down. Resolving this will also lighten the man