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Working longer hours is rarely the answer to increased output. As companies look to improve their bottom line margins, the key is to get people working more efficiently and effectively. Find out how to improve employee productivity and keep your team motivated.

If employees are able to use resources intelligently – both in terms of time and money – they can do their jobs faster, more accurately and with an improved end product. This can help keep both business leaders and customers happy, while providing intrinsic reward for the workers themselves – satisfaction in a job well done.

Businesses can use a variety of techniques and technologies to improve worker efficiency. Automating tasks, reducing travel time and offering greater flexibility and freedom of choice can potentially boost productivity in this sense. But what specifically can your company do to maximise the potential of your workforce? Here are a few initial suggestions:

Hire effectively

Some people are born to work, while others try and get by doing the bare minimum. Your recruitment processes should allow the former to come to the fore, while identifying the latter, enabling you to steer clear. You should be looking for people with a positive approach to work, and a willingness to function as part of a team.

Offer employee rewards

Providing the right level of remuneration is important – this keeps workers motivated in their jobs and also eager to stay with the organisation. Every time a skilled person leaves, it hurts the business as they need replacing with an untrained recruit. However, the company must be able to afford pay and benefits – it’s no use offering jaw-dropping salaries and other incentives if the business is already in the red.

Embrace remote working

Allowing employees to work from home or another off-site location can boost their morale, as they may be able to spend more time with the family. It can also allow them to make better use of the full working day, particularly if they normally engage in a lengthy commute. People who do not spend an hour travelling into and out of work every day may be more willing to work early mornings and evenings – or even weekends – if needs be to get their work finished.

Use mobile technology

The use of connected mobile solutions such as smartphones and media tablets allows employees to keep working while they are away from the office. If they are on a bus or train, or away on a business trip, it is possible to access files and documents online and continue working. With Wi-Fi and mobile broadband networks now covering most of Britain, there are fewer locations where it is impossible to get online.

Modernise your IT

Employees need to have access to laptops and PCs – or mobile solutions where appropriate – which offer the latest tools and online solutions. With more businesses moving functions to the cloud, your firm’s hardware must be able to cope. Employees who are sat waiting ten minutes for their PC to boot up in the morning are not productive workers. Upgrading your operating systems to support modern work styles can be crucial in this sense.

Promote team working

Often, employees who collaborate and work together effectively are the most productive members of staff. The ability to bounce ideas off one another, and offer different viewpoints on particular tasks, can lead to improved overall results. The use of online productivity suites such as Office 365 can help in this regard – different individuals can work simultaneously on the same documents, and share their contributions in real-time.

Get more ideas from The Official Microsoft Blog: