Major mistakes that can ruin productivity in your small business

By Henry Brown

There is a lot more to being a small business owner and a boss than simply telling your employees what to do. You need to work hard to build a trusting relationship with them so you can work together effectively and get things done. For any company to remain competitive these days, it needs to be as productive as possible. Unfortunately, many small business owners ruin productivity in their workplace by neglecting morale, sometimes to the point that the office environment becomes toxic. To avoid this in your own business, here are ten mistakes you should avoid.

Hiring the wrong person

Offices definitely aren’t social hubs, but that doesn’t erase the fact that most are much more efficient when all of the staff get along. Unfortunately, it only takes one wrong hire to ruin the dynamics of the entire workplace. Whether they like to gossip, slack off, or something worse, like steal, a bad apple can wreak havoc among your workforce. To avoid hiring such a person, you should work to improve your hiring process and remember to check references every time.

Skimping on employee benefits

Talented and hardworking team members are hard to find. If you want to attract the best of the best, you need to give them a reason to apply to your company. Offering a competitive salary and great benefits is the perfect place to start. No employee wants to work for a boss that doesn’t appreciate them. This means that, if you don’t show your staff that you care by offering perks and rewards, they won’t work as well and may leave your company completely.

Failing to set goals

Keeping yourself productive is incredibly tough when you don’t actually know what it is that you should be doing. For this reason, if you fail to set goals for your team, they’re going to achieve very little in the long run. To keep your staff on task, you need to tell them what tasks they need to be doing, as well as how this work will help the business hit bigger targets. You should also monitor their progress and address any issues that could be slowing certain individuals down.

Asking for too much

Goals exist to encourage your staff to perform their very best. However, when team members fail to meet their targets, it can negatively impact their confidence. This is why it’s so important that the goals you set are actually achievable. While you should certainly challenge your team, you shouldn’t ask them to achieve the impossible. Ensure that tasks are matched to those with the skill and experience to do them well and that employees take regular breaks to recharge their batteries.

Relying on old tools

Every business has certain tools it needs to get work done. From computers and printers to more specialized equipment, these tools are invaluable, as they help to keep your company up and running. When the equipment and software that you rely on is old and outdated, it can cause chaos in your business, wasting money, as well as time. Upgrading to newer models can require a significant investment, but it tends to be worth it for the time, money, and stress you save going forward.

Not planning for emergencies

While you may not want to be reminded, it’s important to understand that things go wrong in the business world every single day. Employees are injured, confidential information is stolen, and offices are vandalized. All of these issues can have serious consequences, with loss of productivity being one of them. To minimize the damage, you need to put the proper security measures in place. You should also build an emergency fund and invest in business insurance.

Allowing mess to grow

The environment in which you and your employees work can affect the productivity of your business in a big way. Because of this, you need to consider every aspect of it carefully, including the color of the walls, the lighting scheme and much more. You may also want to pay for a commercial cleaning service. Dirt and clutter are a big source of stress, distracting your team from their work. Professional cleaners can eliminate this, allowing employees to focus.

Calling individuals out publicly

When a member of your staff does something wrong, whether on purpose or not, they need to be made aware of it. After all, if you ignore these mistakes, your team may continue to make them, putting your company at risk. That being said, you shouldn’t have this conversation in front of any other employees. Calling out an individual publicly is embarrassing and can ruin the atmosphere of the whole office. It’s always better to talk through any issues in private.

Ignoring suggestions from employees

Your employees are the very best resource that you have. While you may have been the one to build your company, they’re at the core of it, and, as such, are usually much more familiar with smaller details of its operations. This means that their perspective is of great value to you. Because of this, you should introduce a suggestions box and ask your team for feedback and advice on how to improve. Make sure you listen to all suggestions and consider them carefully.

Not managing your own stress

As an entrepreneur, you will have become used to dealing with high levels of stress. However, that doesn’t mean that your team should be exposed to your poor mood. This can ruin the atmosphere in the office and harm the productivity of your business. With that in mind, you should find better ways to deal with and manage your stress. There are many ideas to consider, but among the most recommended is getting plenty of sleep and exercising every day.

Improving the productivity of your company can be tricky. After all, each business is different, which means there isn’t a one-size-fits-all method for you to use. That being said, any of the mistakes listed above can have a negative impact. This means that avoiding these blunders can help you to see positive changes.


Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop, he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.

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