There are a number of factors that impact employee performance. Our productivity and engagement can be affected by a range of influencers, from our choice of drink to lighting to what we choose to do on the weekend. There is even evidence now to suggest that contemplating your mortality can affect workplace performance!
Of course, your organisation can’t directly influence all of these factors, but they are all worth considering. Performance management and the engagement of its employees is — as ever — a top priority for forward-thinking, agile businesses. In fact, 89% of employees believe their performance would significantly improve with changes imposed by performance management.
With this in mind, we have compiled a list of factors to consider when managing performance.
1. Where Your Employees Sit (and Who They Sit Next to) During Office Hours
Something as simple as where your employees sit and how often they are moved can have a direct impact on performance. According to a Wall Street Journal article, employees shifting from desk to desk every few months can increase productivity and collaboration. This is because employees are exposed to co-workers in other departments and are therefore able to pick up new information, input and skills. Simultaneously, they can get to know more people within the company, which is positive for morale.
Further to this, a study conducted by Cornell University found that employees seated by a window saw a drop in eyestrain and headaches along with a 2% boost in productivity. This improvement is largely down to the effects of natural light — so if you find a particular employee lagging, it might be best to ask them to switch seats.
The notable benefit of this approach is it costs little to nothing to implement — an important factor to growing businesses. Given the possibility that this small action might make a big difference to your organisation’s performance, it is certainly worth testing within your performance management system.
2. Offering Complimentary Coffee Might Boost Performance
An example of another low-cost factor that impacts employee performance is the addition of complimentary coffee at the office.
Research conducted by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has found caffeine improves workers’ memory and concentration, boosting cognitive performance and reducing error rates. It was also found to have a similar effect to taking a quick nap, making employees more alert and engaged. Another source backs up this assertion, claiming 46% of employees feel they are less productive without coffee.
3. Varied Weekend Activities
There is evidence to suggest a correlation between weekend activities and workplace productivity. A study by Kevin Eschleman of San Francisco State University determined when an employee doesn’t have a creative outlet at work, introducing one during their downtime boosts productivity and employee performance. Eschleman says extra-curricular activities should not be taxing in the same way your job is. In a similar vein, if you have a creative job, more practical or physically demanding hobbies can have a performance-enhancing impact on work.
4. The Daily Commute to the Office
One important factor to consider when managing performance is the length of the daily commute. Studies have shown that long commutes have a huge impact on workplace productivity. One source suggests those tired from a long commute to work are more likely to be distracted in the morning and wary in the afternoon, as they anticipate (or dread) the return journey ahead. As a result of this stress, they tend to have a higher rate of error than those with little or no commuting to make. This inevitably has an impact on their general productivity.
Another source shows employees with long commutes to work tend to have more stress-related work issues that result from heightened blood pressure, increased anger and a general resentment at having to spend so long in morning traffic. Employees with long commuting hours are also more likely to be late or call in sick.
To resolve this issue, companies should consider experimenting with flexible working, such as telecommuting. If their physical presence in the office isn’t a necessity, a work-from-home alternative demonstrates a high degree of trust. It also acts as a huge company perk that would attract promising new talent. As long as employee performance is monitored and tracked using performance management software, standards will be maintained and you might witness a productivity surge.
5. Regular Managerial Communication and Coaching Conversations
You’re probably aware that managers impact employee productivity and performance, but you may not realise to what degree. A good manager-employee relationship is the most important performance factor directly in your control. Managers account for up to 70% of variance in employee engagement, so it makes sense that if you are eager to improve levels of performance within your company, this is the place you should start.
Regular performance coaching conversations allow managers to give employees reward or recognition for efforts and accomplishments. They also enable managers to deliver guidance and feedback so employees can course-correct when necessary. Further to this, these regular one-on-ones allow employees and managers to discuss SMART objectives and training opportunities. Companies all over the world are replacing annual performance reviews with regular coaching conversations and are noticing a huge difference in terms of productivity and performance.
6. Presenteeism (Coming to Work While Ill)
Companies may be concerned with absenteeism, but the annual cost of presenteeism (coming to work while ill) is actually double that of absenteeism. A remarkable 90% of British workers come into work while unwell, which has a serious impact on performance levels. People are significantly less productive when they are sick. They make more mistakes and their presence in the office risks others getting ill.
To stop presenteeism becoming an ongoing problem in your organisation, address the underlying cause of why employees feel the need to turn up while they’re not fit for work. Are employees concerned an absence might result in a lost promotion? Are they overly stressed about their workload? Do they feel there is nobody at work who can fill in during their time away? HR should address all these concerns and make it clear to employees that if they are ill, it is better to stay home and recuperate.
7. Poor Software Can Negatively Affect Employee Performance
Businesses invest in software with the hopes of improving employee productivity and performance, but sometimes this technology can have the opposite effect. This often happens when the software provided is overly complicated. When there are too many bells and whistles, employees become overwhelmed and frustrated.
The best software should be intuitive and user-friendly, requiring little to no training. At Clear Review, we pride ourselves on providing a simple, clear and pleasant user experience. We’re always there to answer questions about our software, but we have designed our performance management software to be so intuitive that users rarely encounter the problems they do with more complex tools.
8. Create Clear SMART Objectives with Employees
Did you know that employees are far more likely to understand and accomplish their goals when they have created the objective themselves? Give your employees ownership over their targets and make objective setting a collaborative process. Provide your employees with information regarding company objectives and direction and allow them to align their goals upwards. The result will be employees who are more passionate about their day-to-day roles, which will have a direct impact on performance levels.
To find out how Clear Review continuous performance management software can dramatically improve your performance management system and productivity levels within your organisation, book a free performance management software demo today.