4 Unconventional Ways to Increase Employee Productivity

Want your employees to get more done during the workday? Some employers might think that setting limitations on things like mobile devices and Internet access is the answer, but many companies have found that giving their workers more freedom and flexibility through certain policies is the key to increased efficiency.

"Progressive companies are evolving their benefits programs and finding ways to drive employee productivity without breaking the bank," said Chris Duchesne, vice president of global workplace solutions at Care.com, a care provider matching service. "They are providing tools to help reduce the amount of time employees spend on personal issues, giving them time back in their day that they often designated back to working."

Duchesne suggested a few policies that can be implemented to boost productivity, morale and culture among employees: [5 Ways to Improve Your Work-Life Balance Today]

Reduce stress through family-care programs. Help employees manage their personal and professional lives with programs and services that help them address the most pressing and stressful needs in their lives: their families. And it's not just about child care, either. Think about how you can help them take care of their aging parents, their pets and their households, too.

Provide flexible work options. With respect to both work schedule and work location, as long as work gets done, it shouldn't matter where or when it was accomplished. Recent Gallup research found that employees who work remotely even part of the time are both more engaged and more productive. If it's possible for your employees to complete their tasks outside the office, give them the option to do so.

Encourage breaks. Creating mandatory fun sounds like a contradiction, but celebrating birthdays, allowing budget for team lunches, holding quarterly group activities or even having a beer or snack cart for random holidays can boost team spirit and culture. A break for forced fun can reduce mental fatigue, increase collaboration and morale, and offer employees the opportunity to clear their heads.

Demonstrate leadership. There's a trickle-down approach to how supervisors mentor. It starts with human resources departments and top executives recognizing and rewarding employees for their advances and their contributions. Public shout-outs, spot awards and profiles in regular company communications demonstrate company values and reinforce them across the workforce. The most productive companies have a policy and culture in place where the appreciation for each employee is apparent.

Some companies are hesitant to implement changes because they are concerned about costs, but Duchesne noted that these policies are often not as expensive as employers may think. Even if they do cost money, they don't have to happen all at once, he said.

"Change happens gradually, and employers should feel comfortable implementing new work-life policies in stages," Duchesne told BusinessNewsDaily. "They should figure out what the actual costs will be and even have pilot programs before rolling them out company-wide. There is also a misperception that employers will have to bring on additional staff to support these new programs. You likely have existing employees who can fit these new programs into their current job responsibly. Most people are passionate about work-life issues and will be happy to help you implement new policies to make their lives easier."

In the long run, Duchesne said that these types of benefits programs and policies can actually have a positive impact on your company's bottom line as well.

"Employers lose billions of dollars each year in total productivity loss when employees take unexpected leave due to personal issues," he said. "Work-life and culture programs will be a critical differentiator in the new workplace and have the ability to drive innovation, creativity, loyalty and increased productivity."

Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.