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Chapter 16. Improving Productivity of Office Employees. Productivity. Is the result obtained from dividing output by input. The more output an organization obtains from constant levels of input, the better its productivity. Factors That Have Contributed to the

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Chapter 16

Improving Productivity of

Office Employees


Is the result obtained

from dividing output

by input.

The more output an organization obtains

from constant levels of input, the better its


Factors That Have Contributed to the

Productivity Dilemma in the U.S.

1. Constraining nature of government regulations,

actions, and policies.

2. Declining work ethic.

3. Declining research and development expenditures.

4. Declining capital investment.

5. Increasing number of service workers.

6. Changing characteristics of workforce.

7. Constraining practices, policies, and attitudes

of management.

Productivity Improvement Program

Is an effective way for an organization

to increase its productivity.

Characteristics of Successful Productivity

Improvement Programs

1. Have top-management support.

2. Have employee commitment.

3. Have top-priority status.

4. Have productivity goals.

5. Have employee participation.

6. Have an employee rewards feature.

7. Have effective program leadership.

8. Have an effective communication element.

9. Have effective measurement techniques/devices.

Steps in Carrying Out a Productivity

Improvement Program

1. Carry out preliminary planning.

2. Assess the current situation.

3. Select areas/activities to be included.

4. Develop alternative solutions.

5. Design the solution.

6. Develop an implementation plan and implement

the solution.

7. Conduct a follow-up of the solution.

Step 1: Carry Out Preliminary Planning

Identify program objectives.

Determine program’s scope.

Identify individuals to be involved.

Consider input and direction provided by the task


Keep employees abreast of program developmental


Step 2: Assess the Current Situation

Measure the present productivity performance.

Identify and analyze the nature of various

departmental work processes and procedures.

Evaluate ways in which employees perform their

assigned duties.

Step 3: Select Areas/Activities

Select areas in greatest need of improvement

(prioritize if not all areas can be included in

the program).

Step 4: Develop Alternative Solutions

Consider various alternative solutions to helping

increase productivity of areas to be included in


Consider the potential impact of each of the

alternative solutions.

Calculate a cost-benefit ratio for each of the


Step 5: Design the Solution

Attain top management approval when/where


Step 6: Develop an Implementation Plan

and Implement the Solution

Devote as much time to designing the imple-

mentation plan and actual implementation of

each solution as it needs.

Involve unit managers and employees in areas

that affect them as one way of attaining their


Install the new equipment; train/retrain employees.

Implement the solution on an orderly basis.

Step 7: Conduct a Follow-up of the Solution

Determine how well the solution is working a few

months after its implementation by comparing

actual performance against anticipated


Make changes when/where needed.

Measuring office productivity is a critical aspect

of productivity improvement efforts.

Measurable Office Tasks Have

These Characteristics

1. They can be isolated, which helps determine

where they begin and end.

2. The amount of effort and time consumed are

fairly constant from one undertaking to the


3. The task is easily countable.

Types of Data Obtained from

Measurement Process

Obtained by dividing the amount

of time consumed in producing

the units by the total units of

output produced.


Obtained by counting the amount

of poor-quality work that has to

be redone.


Obtained by pro-rating the cost of

labor, equipment, and overhead

per work unit produced.

Per-Unit Cost

Suggestions for Improving the Effectiveness

of Productivity Measurement

1. Determine the measurement objective.

2. Consider the characteristics of the area/activity

being measured and select the simplest,

easiest-to-use technique that circumstances will


3. Train those who are responsible for measurement

to use the various techniques properly.

4. Use a sufficiently long measurement period to

compensate for any abnormal fluctuation in the


Areas in Which Productivity Can

Often Be Improved

(1 of 2)

Often accomplished by provid-

ing employees with new equip-

ment that enables them to per-

form their tasks faster and with

less effort.



Work Processes

and Procedures

Accomplished by providing

employees with efficient work

processes and procedures.

Areas in Which Productivity Can

Often Be Improved

(2 of 2)

Provide employees with a

working environment that

stimulates their desire to

become more productive.




Help employees develop a

positive attitude toward work.

A Variety of Techniques are Available

Some are costly; others are inexpensive or free.

Some involve making substantial changes in

organizational processes and procedures; others

are simply accomplished.

Job Design

Affects the amount of satisfaction employees derive

from their work and the level of productivity they

attain from their job functions.

Employees want task variety, importance,

and autonomy.

Types of Job Design

(1 of 2)

Allows employees to

periodically exchange

their work assignments

with others.

Job Rotation

Removes the repetitive, dull

tasks from employees’ jobs

as well as awkward work

flow and communication


Job Simplification

Types of Job Design

(2 of 2)

Allows employees to

assume greater levels

of responsibility for and

control over their jobs

while increasing their

job planning opportunities.

Job Enrichment


Allows employees to set their own starting times,

usually within a 2- or 3-hour block of time.

All employees have to be at work during a

core time--perhaps from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Job Sharing

Allows two people to share what was one full-time


Salaries and fringe benefits are pro-rated

according to the amount of each employee’s

work contribution.

Job Security

Provides employees with the assurance that even

when they increase their output, their jobs are

not in jeopardy.

This is often a prerequisite to getting

employees to increase their output.

Employee Participation

Gives employees an opportunity to provide

input into the decision-making process.

Employees want to be involved in

situations that affect them.

Quality Circles

Involve a voluntary group of 8-12 employees who

meet on a regular basis to identify, analyze, and

develop solutions to a variety of their work-related


Meetings are held on company time.

Quality of Work Life (QWL)

Involves these aspects regarding an employee’s

position: working conditions, economic rewards

and benefits, interpersonal relations, and a

variety of organizational contributions.

Some of the QWL techniques used are

flextime, MBO, job enrichment, job

security, job rotation, TQM, and

employee participation.

Employee Assistance Programs

Provide a variety of assistance to employees to

help them deal with situations that impact

negatively on their productivity.

Typically involves providing employees

with counseling sessions.


Involves increasing the amount of communication

between management and employees.

Feedback is a critical aspect of the

managerial process.

Burnout Reduction

Involves helping employees reduce burnout or

stress that impacts negatively on their


May involve some employee counseling.


Provides employees with rewards for increasing

their productivity.

Some programs are group based; others are

individual based.

Mental and Emotional Stress Reduction

Involves helping employees overcome the stress

that keeps them from maximizing their


Stress may arise from unsatisfactory

interpersonal relations, low self-esteem,

tension, worry, job boredom, job

isolation, job insecurity, and unpleasant

working conditions.

Team Building

Is designed to enable a team to identify, diagnose,

and solve their own problems.

Results in empowering employees to

assume greater responsibility over their


Problem Solving

Often involves helping employees learn to deal

with complex situations.

May involve the use of a problem-solving


Time Management

Involves helping employees make better use

of their time and to manage their time more


Being able to estimate accurately how long

a given task will take to complete is


Alternative Workweek

Involves giving employees an opportunity to

work four days, perhaps extending the length

of the workday.

Often reduces absenteeism and tardiness.

Total Quality Management (TQM)

Is a program designed to help an organization

improve the quality of its products and/or


Is based on teamwork and empowerment.