Common reasons behind employee unproductivity

You don’t need us to tell you that unproductivity is bad for your business. The consequences are clear, though if you do need reminding, some of these consequences include…

– A failure to meet deadlines

– A lack of profits

– A poor reputation elevated by unhappy clients and customers

In business, you need to focus on your productivity, and in the context of this article, you also need to focus your attention on the productivity of your employees. After all, you are paying them to work for you, so they do need to be on task.

However, there are times when employees can become unproductive. These are the times when they don’t work as hard as they should, and they don’t meet the deadlines you have set them. Why? We will be exploring some of the reasons in this article. 

Reason #1: Your employees are being improperly supervised

We aren’t suggesting you stand behind your employees cracking the proverbial whip, but you do need to make sure they are on task. You won’t be able to do this if you’re forever sat in your office, or if you are constantly away from your business premises. There are times when you need to keep tabs on your employees to make sure they are on track with the jobs you have given them to do, so make an effort to pass by your employee’s workstations occasionally, or employ somebody to line manage them.

Of course, it can be difficult to supervise any remote employees you have working for you, be that staff out on the field or freelancers working from home. In both cases, you might want to call them occasionally, especially if there is a delay in work being done or reports being sent back to you. For your field personnel, you might also choose to use tracking software to ensure efficiency and productivity. Check out the best field service software to find out more. 

The onus is on you then, and once your employees know that you will check on their progress, this might kickstart them into buckling down and getting on with the jobs you have given them to do. However, be mindful of the next two points, as there may be certain problems inherent within your workforce that need to be dealt with.

Reason #2: Your employees lack the correct training

A lack of training can impact productivity in several ways. Firstly, your employees might not be properly equipped to do the work you have given them, and so time will be wasted as they seek guidance from more experienced employees or from yourself. Secondly, if your employees haven’t been trained to do certain tasks, they will be prone to making mistakes, and so their productivity will take a hit when they constantly have to remedy their blunders. And finally, a lack of training can lead to low morale, as if your employees can’t do their jobs properly, they will have little job satisfaction. We will be considering low morale again in a moment.

The remedy to this problem is obvious. Give your employees the training they need. Despite the expense of hiring an outside training provider to come into your business and the costs required to send your employees to a training center, your business will stand to make a profit once your employees have the know-how to do their jobs properly. 

You might also have a hand in the training process yourself if you have the skills required to teach your employees, or you might ask experienced staff members to lead training programs in your workplace. Be mindful of this, however, as while it will cost you less to train your staff if you do it in-house, there might also be a knock-on effect to your productivity, and on that of the staff members you have asked to train up inexperienced staff, so think carefully before going down this route.

Reason #3: Your employees are suffering from low morale

Consider the workers in your care. Are they happy in their jobs? Or do they come into work with reluctance and low moods? If they are unhappy, they are more likely to show less effort with their work, and that will have an impact on your business. Motivate your employees and boost morale with rewards and recognition using employee recognition software.

But why would an employee have low morale? You’re paying them a wage, so surely they should be happy? Of course, you know that we are simplifying the situation, as, despite the financial rewards of being at work, your employees can be hit by low morale for a variety of reasons.

As examples, your employees might suffer from low morale if…

– They are being overworked, with more responsibilities than they can handle.

– You are reducing their work-life balance by asking them to work overtime.

– You are more critical than encouraging within your attitude to them.

– The office environment is dull and uninspiring.

– There are no opportunities for fun and enjoyment at work.

– You have problem employees, including those who bully and harass other workers. 

These are the warning signs of low morale, so be on the lookout for them. Then consider the points we have raised above. If any relate to your workplace, then you might have an idea as to why your employees are suffering from low morale.

As the employer, you need to do what you can to make life easier and happier for your employees. They will continue to be unproductive if you don’t, and in worst-case scenarios, they might even leave your employ, either through stress or a lack of fulfillment.

So, you might…

– Reduce your employee’s workloads by outsourcing tasks that don’t fall under their remit.

– Allow them the opportunity to work from home occasionally to improve their work-life balance.

– Make more of an effort to reward and encourage your employees when appropriate.

– Freshen up your employee’s workspace and improve their break room.

– Arrange social activities with your employees, and find ways to add fun to the workplace.

– Get on top of any bullying employees by following the correct disciplinary procedures. 

You should also meet with your staff members, as if they are suffering from low morale, you need to investigate the reasons why, be they among those factors we suggested or not.


So, don’t let your business suffer because of problems with unproductivity. Consider our suggestions, and if anything we have said relates to your business, follow our advice to get your employees and your business back on track. Your profit line depends upon it.

Let us know if you have any further suggestions that might benefit our readers.

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