Workplace productivity: Are you measuring it correctly – or at all?

Productivity is crucial to the success and growth of any organization. Productivity is not merely about working harder; it’s about working smartly and efficiently. 

Workplace productivity measures the work completed over time, considering the resources used. A productive workforce accomplishes more with fewer resources, maximizing efficiency and contributing to the overall success of an organization.


By tracking productivity, leaders can identify areas of improvement, inefficiencies, and potential bottlenecks that hinder optimal performance and employee engagement

By measuring productivity, an organization can improve: 

  • Efficiency and performance
  • Employee engagement
  • Employee recruitment and retention
  • Customer and employee experiences
  • Investment and operational decision making
  • Workplace culture

Here is a closer look at the types of workplace productivity measurements:

Labor productivity: This measures the production of goods or services. It can be measured at an individual, team, or company level. Consistently measuring labor productivity over time helps companies determine when to invest in new capital, technology, or training. Understanding employees’ average engagement and productivity levels also help leaders spot employee burnout.

Capital productivity: Determine whether your tools and technology need an update. This shows how efficiently capital is used. Workplace capital includes anything physical, such as buildings, cars, computers, machines, office supplies, and tools.

Material productivity: Monitor how much electricity, fuel, heat, and other consumable materials are used during production. Measuring material productivity may help address wasted energy and inefficient processes.

Total factor productivity: Look at goods and services produced vs. total inputs. This method gives companies a birds-eye view of their productivity inefficiencies and strengths.

When measuring workplace productivity, there are several considerations:

Establish standards and goals: Identifying productivity baselines and goals makes showing progress and celebrating improvements easier. Ensure all employees understand what is expected.

Consider company culture: How connected are team members? How do they feel about their work, and how motivated are they to succeed? Employee engagement and productivity increase when you improve company culture.

Identify and change benchmarks as needed: Goals and benchmarks change over time as employees, managers, and leaders communicate needs.

Request updates from employees: Leaders must regularly ask for employee productivity updates. Lower-level employees and managers can track productivity by giving daily or weekly performance reports. Checking in ensures accountability and builds trust among management levels.

Measure profitability: If your company’s profits are growing, it is an indicator productivity going well, too.

Measure the number of tasks completed: Keeping track of the number of assignments completed and comparing that to previous data helps gauge productivity trends. This process helps companies determine what is working well.

Time tracking tasks: Many productivity management tools are available online, but managers can also design their style of regular check-ins to suit their employees’ needs. Checking in regularly with employees ensures they understand company expectations around performance and productivity.

Feedback and peer assessment: Feedback, open communication, and peer assessments help companies gain insights about the employee experience and challenges that might hinder productivity.

Compare labor time to goods produced: Understanding how long it takes to complete a task helps managers recognize when specific tools, training, or processes help improve efficiency.

Customer satisfaction: Satisfied customers spread positive brand awareness and reinforce the value of what your organization offers. Customer satisfaction should be measured as closely as employee satisfaction.

Bob Helbig is media partnerships director at Energage, a Philadelphia-based employee survey firm. Energage is The Washington Post’s survey partner for Top Workplaces.

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