How Productive is Your Workforce, Really?

By Suzanne Gainey, SATECH, Inc.

Productivity in the workplace has been a topic of interest for years. Focus on this area doesn’t seem to be slowing down, but rather ramping up across almost every industry. Technology has been a factor in measuring workplace production value with computers, spreadsheets, and software that measure key data. With this factor in play, productivity in the workplace is not a topic that businesses can ignore anymore. Today, we will touch on a couple of the key topics within the realm of workplace productivity and provide ideas to help get you started with increasing worker productivity in your own company.

In an article by The Harvard Business Review we are told, “To really improve productivity – and to be honest about what it means – you first have to gain a level of organizational self-awareness to understand what work actually drives value at your company, and then direct employees towards these tasks.”

Sounds easy, right? Not so much actually.

Beyond the actual production numbers, companies need to go deeper to figure out what the pain points and pitfalls of poor productivity are, and the high costs that can be associated with a poorly functioning workforce. Let’s begin by looking at company culture and mindset and the research related to these topics.

Harvard Business Review highlights the benefits of having a positive company culture. (Source: https://hbr.org/2015/12/proof-that-positive-work-cultures-are-more-productive )

“Too many companies bet on having a cut-throat, high-pressure, take-no-prisoners culture to drive their financial success. But a large and growing body of research on positive organizational psychology demonstrates that not only is a cut-throat environment harmful to productivity over time, but that a positive environment will lead to dramatic benefits for employers, employees, and the bottom line.

Although there’s an assumption that stress and pressure push employees to perform more, better, and faster, what cutthroat organizations fail to recognize is the hidden costs incurred.

First, health care expenditures at high-pressure companies are nearly 50% greater than at other organizations. The American Psychological Association estimates that more than $500 billion is siphoned off from the U.S. economy because of workplace stress, and 550 million workdays are lost each year due to stress on the job. Sixty percent to 80% of workplace accidents are attributed to stress, and it’s estimated that more than 80% of doctor visits are due to stress. Workplace stress has been linked to health problems ranging from metabolic syndrome to cardiovascular disease and mortality.”

The hidden healthcare related costs of stress in the workplace illustrated here are enough to get us thinking about how one can effectively change the mindset and culture to be a more positive environment for workers. The adage, ‘attitude is everything’, comes to mind.

Beyond mindset, physical stress and pain is a huge factor in worker productivity as well. Did you realize that according to the U.S. Department of Labor, 33% of all injury and illness cases were attributed to Musculoskeletal disorders? ‘MSD’s’ are injuries or pain in the human musculoskeletal system, including the joints, ligaments, muscles, nerves, tendons, and structures that support limbs, neck and back. Workers who spend too much time on their feet are at greatly increased risk of pain and discomfort from these types of injuries. Increasing worker comfort while standing on the job may lead to greater satisfaction from employees in the workplace.

In the end, each company will have its own areas to consider improving upon when it comes to worker productivity and worker satisfaction, which seem to be linked based on the research available in this area. At SmartCells, we believe that life shouldn’t hurt. That’s why we developed SmartCells Cushioning Technology and placed it onto a suite of custom flooring, mats, and insoles designed to keep you feeling good while on your feet all day.

Headquartered in Washington state, our story begins in the late 1980s with the inception of SmartCells Cushioning Technology. Since then, we have played a key role in helping establish standards for injury prevention, employee productivity, and comfort. We believe our products can change lives and make every on-your-feet, on-the-go person feel better at work, at play, and at the end of every day.

Do more for your workforce. Feel good while standing at work. With SmartCells ergonomically engineered custom flooring, mats, and insoles. Solutions for the workplace.