July 16 ,2015 | by Helen Gould

Flexible working and praise help productivity, shows research

There are many ways businesses can boost employees' productivity for little to no financial outlay, new research shows.

Financial rewards remain the best way of boosting productivity among employers, but there are a number of other measures small businesses can use to make staff work harder.

This is according to new research from Office Genie, which identified a good night's sleep, positive feedback from managers and flexible working hours as three factors that raise productivity among a workforce.

Over a fifth (22 per cent) of  the 1,000 employees polled said they would feel more productive if they were allowed to work flexibly - such as shifting their starting and finishing hours from the traditional nine to five. Furthermore, 20 per cent said they would get more done if they were encouraged to get a good night's sleep, and if they received praise for good work.

These three measures could be introduced by businesses for little to no financial outlay, but the most popular methods for increasing productivity would involve extra cost. 49 per cent of respondents included a pay rise when asked to pick their top three ways that would make them more productive, while 36 per cent opted for a bonus.

Chief executive officer at Office Genie Ciaron Dunne was quoted by SmallBusiness.co.uk as saying while money is the main motivator, there are other ways that can be effective.

"Business owners who can’t afford to dish out pay rises and bonuses may take solace in knowing there are several ways to boost productivity that will cost their company absolutely nothing," he remarked.

The low-cost methods for boosting productivity may be of particular interest to small retailers, as separate research from O2 shows they are currently experiencing the most volatile sales environment for more than ten years.

Last year, there was a 36 per cent difference between average sales in what was the worst month for retail performance - February - and the peak in December. The trend is expected to continue in 2015, which could make it difficult for small retailers to accurately predict costs and profit, and cope with demand at busy periods.

"Running a small business is always highly unpredictable and the findings from our research show that this continues to be the case. Sales volatility and unexpected changes in the marketplace present both opportunities and challenges," observed O2 business director Ben Dowd.

Helen Gould

Helen is a News Writer for LSBF who writes about education, careers, sustainable business, and women in business.

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