There’s nothing more important to a small business than its employees. If your employees are happy, their productivity will increase, and that’s exactly what you need to help your business grow.

Making small changes to habits will drastically improve the levels of productivity and office efficiency in your business. This will allow you to get more quality work done in a shorter period of time as well as reduce the amount of time spent on unnecessary tasks.

Here are eight top tips on how to get the most out of your employees and ensure that their productivity is kept to a maximum:

1. Be Efficient

Consider how your business is currently operating, and be open to the potential of changing the way you work. Remember that it’s equally as important to make short-term and long-term lists as it is to prioritise tasks, especially in a small business.

Is there a better way that staff members could structure their day to enable them to achieve their daily goals? Provide each member of staff with a plan and encourage each to make a list to ensure he or she completes prioritised jobs on time and stays on task all day, resulting in efficient working.

2. Delegate

Delegation comes with an element of risk, but increased responsibility is important for improving the morale and job satisfaction of your staff. Give responsibilities to qualified employees that have a proven track record with success in a certain field, and trust that they will perform the tasks well.

If you allow employees the chance to gain skills and leadership experience, it will benefit your company and provide your employees with a sense of achievement and direction in their own careers.

3. Reduce Distractions

Social media can be a huge productivity killer, but it isn’t practical to have a no-phone policy. Instead, try to keep employees focused and engaged while allowing them breathing room.

Encourage employees to turn off their mobiles but take regular breaks during which they can be free to check their phones. This will ensure that the time spent at their desk is more productive.

4. Have the Right Tools and Equipment

Providing employees with the right tools and equipment is important so they can perform their duties efficiently and on time. There’s nothing more counterproductive than spending time waiting for paperwork to print because you haven’t got a fast printing device.

High-quality, modern programs and equipment make a massive difference not only to the workforce but also to how your company is perceived. Save time and effort by using equipment such as an MFP, which can work as printer, scanner, copier and fax machine.

5. Improve workplace conditions

A comfortable working temperature is between 68 and 70 degrees F (20-21 C). An environment that’s too hot or too cold distracts from concentration, as employees will spend more time walking around to get their coats or an electric fan. Ensure both heating and air-conditioning systems are in working order for when the relevant season comes around.

6. Offer Support and Set Realistic Goals

A common problem for managers is having no clear, strong sense of whether their employees are high-performing or not.

Do your employees need an incentive to stay on track? Help them by offering goals that are achievable. Provide clear direction to supervisors and employees to help clarify expectations. This will help to increase their productivity, as they will have a clear focus and clear goals.

7. Practice Positive Reinforcement

Encourage, motivate and reward. Tell employees they are doing a good job and give constructive criticism. Most importantly, offer personal incentives for doing the job well – could they get a free holiday or a free takeout coffee for performing above and beyond their roles?

You should clearly indicate success of one employee to other staff to cultivate a sense of fulfilment to motivate others. When you motivate your employees to work harder and receive rewards in return, they’re more likely to put increased productivity high up on their to-do list.

8. Ensure Employees Are Happy

A stressful workplace will not yield results. Workers that constantly operate under highly stressful conditions are found to be less productive and have higher levels of disengagement and absenteeism … They need to be happy!

Showing employees how much the company appreciates, respects and values them on a personal level is gratifying – and often overlooked.

If you want your staff to work to the best of their ability, try out a few of these tips and enjoy the benefits.

Kenneth Jackson is a contributor to BusinessTown.com