Time is money, or so they say. It’s with this in mind that some UK businesses have decided to monitor staff productivity with the help of artificial intelligence.
The Guardian recently reported on the use of Isaak, an AI system which analyses staff productivity. It provides real-time insights and collects data to help inform workload allocation.
Trade unions have raised concerns that the software could lead employees to feel more pressure. In addition, one labour expert questioned its true effectiveness since it fails to factor in time spent thinking. In business, it’s often important to think before you act so not measuring it as an output seems counterproductive.
If you’d like to focus on boosting productivity at your company, but don’t fancy bringing in AI software to put them under scrutiny, here are a few less obvious research-backed solutions you could try…
Trial Fewer Hours or a Four Day Week
No, really! Productivity in the workplace has recently been proven to increase when staff members are given more time to do their own thing. One Australian digital agency has seen positive results after giving staff Wednesdays off. Employees still work the same number of hours but split across four working days.
This is a strategy that’s perhaps not practical in all workplaces but working fewer days or hours has certainly yielded some great results. One Swedish study (reported here) found that working six-hour days led to staff taking half as many sick days, having more energy at work and being measurable happier. In New Zealand, a trial of a four-day working week with employees compensated the same amount of pay found that staff maintained the same level of productivity but were happier and enjoyed better work-life balance.
Create a Comfortable Environment
Light levels, ergonomics, noise and temperature all have an impact on staff wellbeing and in turn, performance. It’s common sense that if lighting is too low, people are more likely to strain their eyes, but the potential benefits of good workplace lighting go even further. The results of one study showed that good levels of natural light in the workplace helped staff to sleep longer and be ore physically active, which has obvious implications for health.
Open plan offices can be a mixed blessing when it comes to productivity too. They allow for easier collaboration but one 2011 study found that noisy workplace environments increased the levels of worker’s stress hormone levels. Is your office layout working for you?
Work on Company Culture
Happy employees work harder. Are your employees interested in what they do and engaged with the vision you have for your company? When staff become disengaged, feel undervalued or aren’t a good fit for your organisation, productivity dips. So what can you do to tackle this?
Fine-tuning your recruitment process to ensure you bring in the right people is key. You may find there’s also work to be done from within your organisation. Do you have strong internal communications that engages your staff and celebrates their successes? Do you know what motivates individuals and brings them together as a team? You can’t remove the human element and impact on output. However, by putting people at the centre and working on culture – you can certainly steer things in the right direction.