Productivity is just one way in which healthcare staff contributes to the workplace. It’s also a factor that comes with numerous benefits for both the employer and employee, making it worthwhile to find ways to create a highly productive work environment.
Benefits of a More Productive Healthcare Workforce
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shares that productivity is important because it helps businesses increase output without increasing input costs such as those related to hiring more labor or buying more materials.1 The BLS adds that productivity increases have allowed U.S.-based businesses to improve goods and services production nine-fold since 1947, yet these same companies have only experienced a small increase in the number of hours employees work.
An analysis of data collected from 339 independent Gallup studies spanning 73 countries and 49 industries (and including more than 1.8 million employees) supports the connection between employee productivity and business profitability — especially when the employee is also satisfied with their job.2
So, productive employees help healthcare organizations get more done without increasing the company’s costs and boosting their profitability at the same time. But how do you create a more productive healthcare workforce?
7 Ways to Create a Highly Productive Work Environment
Several factors can affect employees’ productivity levels, one of which is the work environment.3 Here are seven tips that can help you create a work environment that supports productivity improvements.
#1: Encourage Discussion of Productivity Concerns
You can’t solve a problem that you don’t know exists. Encouraging staff to discuss productivity concerns can bring any potential issues out into the open. Once exposed, you’ll have the opportunity to dig into these issues a bit further to learn their root cause. This enables you to devise a plan that corrects the underlying issue, improving productivity as a result.
One way to promote this discussion is to have managers ask about productivity concerns at their regular meetings. Having an open-door policy can also help employees feel more comfortable bringing attention to these issues whenever they arise, allowing the concerns to be dealt with before they can get bigger or more problematic.
#2: Implement Time Management Strategies
Time management contributes to productivity by helping employees stay more focused while limiting outside distractions. Implementing strategies that support effective time management, then, can help increase worker productivity.
Some of the most effective time management strategies include:4
- Setting priorities to differentiate between various tasks based on their level of urgency and importance
- Using app-based time management tools such as time trackers, time savers, task managers, and habit developers
- Reinforcing the value of good organization skills
- Avoiding procrastination, such as by completing less pleasant tasks first to get them out of the way or breaking bigger tasks down into smaller, more manageable tasks
- Reducing or eliminating timewasters, like checking email too frequently throughout the day and being interrupted by unexpected visitors
- Not multi-tasking but, instead, focusing on just one task at a time
#3: Offer Team Collaboration Tools
When employees are able to work together cohesively, it can enhance their output as a whole. Each person’s effort combines to create a more productive outcome. Offering your staff tools that enhance team collaboration can assist with this process.
One tool option is team-based software programs. These enable workers to get together on a common task or project, keeping their notes and progressions in one central database. PC Magazine reports that some of the best software for this purpose are Todoist, Asana, LiquidPlanner, and Miro.5
#4: Help Employees Strengthen Their Computer Skills
Many healthcare organizations rely on computers to collect, organize, and store patient health information. Some healthcare workers, such as medical billing and coding specialists, also utilize computer systems for billing and reimbursement purposes. The faster the employee is able to input, retrieve, or identify the needed information, the more productive they become.
If an employee could benefit from improving their computer skills, offer them this opportunity. This might involve enrolling them in a typing course to increase their speed and accuracy. Or it could include providing access to a training program that teaches them more about the computer programs you use, and how to use them with greater skill and efficiency.
#5: Provide Access to Training Opportunities
Training helps better prepare workers through increasing education and/or advancing their skills. It also helps provide a higher level of confidence and 98% of workers report that they perform better on the job when they feel more confident.6
Training comes in many shapes and forms. Some training is specific to a particular job role whereas other types of training are designed to bolster “power skills” that help boost workplace performance, sometimes in a more indirect way.
Provide your healthcare employees access to various training programs to help improve their education and skills. Look at both in-person and online training options. In-person training may be an option if you have many staff members who would be attending while online training may offer greater convenience.
#6: Optimize Workplace Meetings
Have you ever attended a workplace meeting, only to walk out and either say or think about how that was a waste of your time? Avoid doing this to your staff by keeping your meetings optimized and productive.
This begins with only scheduling meetings when they are needed. If something can be handled with a quick email or memo instead, this can help reduce the time required of your staff while still disseminating the necessary information.
If a meeting is needed, ways to keep that meeting effective include:7
- Writing up a meeting agenda
- Nominating someone to ensure that the meeting continues to progress
- Developing a 5-minute rule so individual speakers can’t go on and on
- Limiting meeting time, keeping regular team meetings to 15-30 minutes and one-on-one meetings to no more than an hour
- Asking employees for feedback as to how they feel about the meetings and what changes could make them more valuable
#7: Recognize Productivity-Related Improvements and Achievements
Finally, if your staff is trying to improve their productivity, recognize their efforts. Let them know that you see how hard they are working and tell them that you appreciate all that they are doing for the healthcare organization.
Sometimes, just being told that you’re doing a good job is enough to make you want to keep productivity levels up. At a minimum, it at least says that what you’re doing isn’t going unnoticed, so the improvements you’re making aren’t being lost in the day-to-day business operations.
How Can UMA Help?
At Ultimate Medical Academy (UMA), we are driven to help our healthcare partners be as productive and successful as possible. So, if you have productivity-related issues, we’d love to help you solve them. Contact us today to discuss how we can work together to make your company stronger and more resilient. UMA’s Corporate Alliance team partners with healthcare organizations of varying scales, providing allied healthcare staffing solutions at no cost.
1 Bureau of Labor Statistics. Productivity 101: Why is Productivity Important? https://www.bls.gov/k12/productivity-101/content/why-is-productivity-important/home.htm
2 Krekel C, Ward G, De Neve JE. Employee Wellbeing, Productivity, and Firm Performance: Evidence From 1.8 Million Employees. Vox. https://voxeu.org/article/employee-wellbeing-productivity-and-firm-performance
3 Sage HR. Productivity at Work: The 5 Critical Factors! https://blog.sage.hr/5-critical-factors-affecting-employee-productivity-at-work/
4 University of Georgia Extension. Time Management: 10 Strategies for Better Time Management. https://extension.uga.edu/publications/detail.html?number=C1042&title=Time%20Management:%2010%20Strategies%20for%20Better%20Time%20Management
5Duffy, J. The Best Online Collaboration Software for 2022. PC Magazine. https://www.pcmag.com/picks/the-best-online-collaboration-software?test_uuid=06r4MYCu5PZzCkufjQSV3po&test_variant=a
6 Lewis L. Confidence at Work: Why Employers Should Nurture This Soft Skill. Lead/Indeed. https://www.indeed.com/lead/confidence-at-work
7 Phillips J. How to Run Effective Virtual and In-Person Meetings. Slack. https://slack.com/intl/en-gb/blog/productivity/run-effective-meetings