It has become a modern-day trend to boast about the number of hours we spend at the office, which is alarmingly high compared to the time we spend sleeping, for instance. Contrary to how this may seem, this machine-like routine is far from beneficial for our productivity, as it in fact has a detrimental effect on our focus, motivation, and ability to solve problems efficiently.

Add to that the staggering statistic that 70% of employees are actively disengaged at work, and those piled up hours instantly appear wasted. Since it seems that clocking more hours doesn’t promise an increase in productivity, you might as well focus on the aspects of your business that will actually make a difference for your employees.

Rethink workload distribution

As one of the main culprits of employee burnout, the burden of too much work can never lead to a healthy office atmosphere, let alone better results. In fact, if 68% of US employees feel that they have too much on their hands, this should serve as a clear signal that it’s high time we altered the way we distribute tasks at the office.

Whether your senior team members need to handle their own work plus manage a great portion of what their subordinates do, or the newbies on your team feel overwhelmed with responsibility, the end result is the same: the work will not be done in time, and most likely not well. Talk and evaluate each employee’s work input and do your best to make the workload evenly distributed according to their abilities. This step alone will do wonders for your office morale and your productivity rate.

Create a suitable environment

Many seemingly minor factors can greatly affect the way your office functions on a daily basis, and they are frequently overlooked despite their importance. Something as basic as ample lighting, a suitable color palette, or ergonomic chairs can tremendously impact your team’s ability to work and finish their tasks in time.

However, it’s best to treat this the way you would handle your health – so think in terms of prevention rather than finding a cure. That is why you should set up a company with all these details in mind, so that the environment you create is conducive to productivity and doesn’t hinder your employees. Everything from your choice of design, all the way to the code of conduct required can either be a boost or a setback for their motivation and abilities.

Offer continuous education

Many employees feel that their skills are underutilized in their current positions, so they feel less driven to do their absolute best and impress you. No matter how simple their work may be, there should always be room for improvement, and it’s your job as their leader to provide regular opportunities to continue their professional growth.

Keep an eye on available employee training courses, seminars, and conferences, all of which are valuable investments not only in your employees’ advancement, but in your own business. Include them in the process of finding the right learning tools and events, so that they can perfect in areas they need most. The relevance of these learning sessions is much more important than their frequency, although the balance of both would be the best possible solution for both you and your team.

Encourage transparency

Running a large corporation is already riddled with challenges even without the added aspect of creating the right communication channels and practices among your employees. And yet, this single aspect of your operations can significantly help your employees make the most of their roles, without compromising their autonomy.

Think of it as a two-way street: look for feedback only if you are ready to give it as well, and even simple changes in your day-to-day practices can make a difference. Introducing regular one-on-one conversations, team meetings, and encouraging the use of digital communication channels to exchange ideas will in time create a much stronger bond among your employees. With clear instructions, continuous guidance, and open appreciation, their productivity will soar!

De-stress the office

There’s a fine line between experiencing just the right amount of stimulation that will empower your employees to put their best foot forward, and the overwhelming amount of stress that leads to productivity-reducing anxiety. Defining this fine line may be the key to creating a work environment that supports the right amount of arousal without turning it into stress.

If you have implemented some of the previous steps, such as transparent communication, you’ll know which of your employees belong to which end of the stress spectrum. Help them battle their stress with the right rituals, such as a few days off, a gym membership, or let them give their own suggestions. Chances are they already know what would make them feel less stressed, and the end result will be a happier employee that brings more success to your business.

Keep an open mind, talk to your employees, and strive to provide the best possible conditions that will ultimately lead to greater personal and professional success. Finally, by stepping away from the “more is better” mindset that dominates the workplace as we know it, you can help your employees find the right balance in their responsibilities without removing the much-needed level of challenge that makes their jobs rewarding.

Emma is a digital marketer and blogger from Sydney. After getting a marketing degree she started working with Australian startups on business and marketing development. Emma writes for many relevant, industry related online publications and does a job of an Executive Editor at Bizzmark blog and a guest lecturer at Melbourne University. Interested in marketing, startups and latest business trends.