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Working Capital - Mission Blog

<<Mission Blog Home Posted: 03-30-2015

What Has the Greatest Impact on Workplace Productivity?

We begin by posing the most asked question this week – how’s your bracket? If you’re like an estimated 60 million of your fellow Americans the answer is – “busted”.

The annual three-week circus known as March Madness is upon us. Even the most casual fans are swept up by the hoopla. And, a good portion of all this bracket building, bracket following and bracket talking takes place at work.

Global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. estimates that this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament could cost American businesses an estimated 1.9 billion dollars in lost productivity. Regardless of the actual number we all have witnessed firsthand the effect this has on the workplace.

But the tournament only lasts three weeks. What factors affect workplace productivity the other 49 weeks of the year? The answers may surprise you.

According to a report from The National Business Research Institute these are five factors that can affect your employee’s productivity:

ATTITUDE – A happy employee is a productive employee. Keeping a positive attitude is important.

THE BOSS – People work for people. If your immediate supervisor is bad it will affect your productivity.

HEALTH – Whether yours or someone close to you, health concerns can sap concentration and lessen productivity.

TOOLS – Get the right tool for the job. Few things frustrate a workforce more than outdated and inefficient equipment – regardless of the job.

JOB SECURITY – The downsizing of corporate America has a ripple effect on those that remain. Often the “survivors” not only have an increased work load but find themselves wondering who is next.

It is easy for an employer to blame decreased productivity on the workforce. While this may be true in some cases it doesn’t hurt to examine the workplace environment to make sure it is maximized for success.

Sometimes, office productivity can quite literally be a product of the environment. Things like lighting, temperature, clutter, layout, etc. can have an adverse effect on how people conduct themselves on a day-to-day basis.  For example, a study from Cornell University found that at 68 degrees workers were 44% more likely to make mistakes than at room temperature (about 77 degrees).

Unless you work alone or in a box you will find other distractions around you. A 2013 survey conducted by found that:

  • 86% of those surveyed preferred to work alone to achieve maximum productivity
  • 61% said noisy co-workers were the number one distraction
  • 40% said impromptu meetings were a distraction

And, surprisingly, 46% said they were more likely to communicate with a near-by co-worker via electronic means rather than in person.

In the end there are a variety of factors that will affect office productivity. Some are the responsibility of the employer and some of the employee. In the end the best way to improve your workplace is with better communication. With your boss, your co-workers and your clients.

How do you enhance productivity in your office?

Working Capital, Goodwill mission blog author
This article was written by: Steve Allan

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