Productivity: Improving Your Odds of Success

The term "productivity" can mean different things to different companies. One firm may define productivity as getting work done fast. Another may measure productivity by the amount of goods or services delivered in a specific time period. A third company may define productivity as the proportion of total input (such as work, training, financial investment and time) to the total output. And for some companies, productivity simply equals profits the amount of money a business has left over after expenses.

No matter how your company defines productivity, it remains an important component of its success as well as your own.

Characteristics of Productive Workers

Productive workers are always on the lookout for ways to get the most out of the people, machines and materials at hand, including improving their own skills. Productive workers pay attention to the outcome of the work. For example, an employee who works quickly but has to spend time correcting mistakes is not being productive. So the productive worker strives for quality, as well as safety and cooperation with coworkers. Productive workers make mistakes like everyone else. But they try to learn from their mistakes.

Productive workers tend to set goals and develop priorities, tackling the most important tasks first. They value time by beginning work on time, and they work as efficiently as possible, whether they're working alone, on a team or under constant supervision.

The Benefits of Productivity

Some workers believe that improvements in productivity benefit only the company, but productivity has advantages for the workers too.

Companies that prosper because of productive workers can offer greater job security and opportunities for promotion. These companies are more likely to provide bonuses or a wider range of fringe benefits. A productive workforce enables a company to expand, thus providing more jobs and deterring layoffs. In a wider context, a stronger company contributes to a stronger economy.

On a personal level, the productive worker knows how to avoid painful and costly accidents, adapts more easily to change, is better able to cope with stress, has a more positive attitude, is a skilled problem-solver and feels satisfied after putting in an honest day's work.

You Can't Lose

Improving your productivity may mean making changes in how you think and live rather than by working longer hours. Start by developing a commitment to quality, efficiency, teamwork and good health and safety habits. And remember, improving your productivity improves the likelihood of advancement, recognition, personal profit, valuable new skills and job satisfaction. When you look at productivity in that light, you can't lose.

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