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Expert Answers to Biz Questions

Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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Ensuring Employee Productivity

 

If you run a business, you should know that your employees are people, not just workers. It’s fair to have certain expectations of them, but it’s not fair to treat them like mindless robots with no other life outside of the nine to five. There are things you can do to make sure you’re getting the most out of your employees without seeming like you’re baby-sitting them or watching over them like a hawk at all times. Ideally, these steps will make the working environment better for everyone in the office. They can even save you some money if you play your cards right.

Communication

You should have clear expectations for your office staff. You should also give them a clear idea of how they can meet these expectations. That doesn’t mean you have to hold their hand through every ask, but it’s good if your employees ask questions about a process. That means they want to make sure they’re doing it right, which is much better than just sloppily throwing something together and calling it good enough. The best offices are ones where curious people can thrive.

If you’re the boss, it’s fair to want to be respected more than you want to be liked. That’s a worthy goal. It doesn’t mean your staff can’t respect you as well as like you, though. Being a friendly, engaged boss who also knows when it’s time to get serious will go a long way towards achieving both of those goals.

Finally, it’s fair to look at the way your office as a whole communicates via landlines, smartphones, and other devices. There are more electronic devices than ever for companies like yours to manage, and it can get overwhelming fast, especially if your company is growing. Do some research into telecom expense management and see if it makes sense for your organization.

Relaxation

How’s your company’s break room? If you’re thinking, “Who cares? They don’t spend much time in there anyway,” then think again. It doesn’t matter if lunch is only thirty minutes. In fact, that makes the need for an efficient, comfortable break room even more urgent, since thirty minutes isn’t much time for employees to run out and buy a sandwich from the drive-thru a couple of miles away. You can really help your employees out by installing a microwave and fridge in the break area. If you’re feeling really generous, adding a stove and oven from Dacor would be even better for days when there’s a company luncheon or other event that may require a little cooking. Make sure there’s plenty of chairs and tables in there while you’re at it; most employees would probably prefer not to stand around and wolf down a frozen dinner on their lunch break.

By expanding the break room, you’re letting staff know that you want them to have a comfortable place to unwind when they aren’t on the clock. You’re letting them know that you want them to take a few minutes in the morning to sit down with a good cup of coffee before their work begins. They’ll appreciate that, which will be helpful during the busy times of the year when you need them to stay late and work overtime. Sure, those vending machines with chips and cookies are nice, but a place where they can make something that resembles real food is even nicer.

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