Sep 16, 2014

    Boosting productivity: 3 ways to make it happen

    SINGAPORE companies have been pushing for greater productivity in their workforce for the past few years. Higher productivity leads to new business opportunities and it will lift salaries in a sustainable way.

    Here are three ways you can boost productivity:


    Some people believe improvements can make an impact only if they result in a quantum leap, such as boosting sales figures or reducing cost by 20 per cent. However, do not belittle small accomplishments.

    Even a 1 per cent improvement can be significant, if all employees can achieve it. When aggregated across the company and maintained in the long run, the effect is tremendous.

    A productivity jingle developed in the 1980s still holds true today: "Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Till your good is better and your better is best."

    Keep this jingle in mind, as you seek to find that 1 per cent improvement in your work. It could be as simple as reducing time spent on unnecessary meetings, setting clear agendas during meetings and sticking to them or de-cluttering your work desk.


    Try to learn something new on a regular basis.

    This need not be a formal or structured course, like a Master's programme, but anything from online courses available on Coursera or edX to new hobbies. What is more important is that you widen your perspective, increase knowledge and pick up ideas on how to do things differently. Where possible, try to venture outside your comfort zone, as this could be the start of something bigger.


    One way to pick up new ideas and perspectives is to participate in the inaugural National Productivity Month (www.npm.sg) next month.

    It aims to share ways that companies and individuals can improve productivity. Participants will be able to hear from industry leaders as well as individuals who have successfully boosted their business' productivity level. Events will be divided for different industries: manufacturing, health care, retail, food services, hospitality and construction.

    Increasing productivity will not happen overnight. Nor is it something that is solely the responsibility of management. Productivity can only be achieved when every individual within the organisation realises that his contributions can make a difference and begin looking for ways to make an impact.

    The writer is currently seconded from the Workforce Development Agency to head the National Productivity Office at the

    Singapore Business Federation. SBF and

    the Singapore National Employers Federation are co-organising National Productivity Month.