There is nothing more deflating than getting into the office early to smash out some work, only to realise that you can’t open a file because you don’t have the right software.

Unfortunately, moments like these are a common occurrence for the majority of the Australian workforce, with our recent national productivity report identifying ‘outdated processes, policies and workflows’ as the top causes behind an unproductive workplace (59%). For an employee on a $80k annual salary, this means that employers are pouring more than $8,000 a year down the productivity drain according to previous research we’ve undertaken.

The Nitro Productivity Report surveyed over 1000 Australian office workers in various public and private sector roles to better understand productivity challenges and return on employee investment down under. In a world where more than 50% of organisations globally are struggling to retain valued employees, the importance of enabling and improving productivity in a bid to attract, retain and groom the right talent is essential.

But how do you do it?

Revisit your management style

The old adage of “people leave managers, not companies” rings truer than ever. In fact, the number one driver for people switching or leaving jobs is still a bad boss. Nitro’s report found that poor leadership is a top productivity pain point for 56% of Australian employees, with negative workplace culture following in hot pursuit (54%).

Create the opportunity to gather 360-degree feedback on your workplace’s management style and open up the lines of communication to ask employees how they’d like to be managed. Taking this time to build trust with your teams and earn their respect (as opposed to simply commanding it) will help them feel empowered and heard.

Limit meetings, improve existing ones

Nitro’s report showed that 43% of employees wish they could reduce the number and length of meetings in their office hours, citing the unnecessary interactions were infringing on their time spent bunking down to work.

While meetings can contribute positively to collaboration in the office, we need to ensure that we’re spending less time talking about getting things done and more time actually getting things done. Setting out a clear agenda of things you want to achieve post-meeting and ensuring that pre-meeting prep is a priority are sure ways to ensure that everyone is coming to the table with ideas ready to discuss.

A willingness to change is also key: review recurring meetings on a regular basis to determine if they’re still necessary, and clear a few schedules for more fruitful outcomes.

Equip your team with the right tools

Your team’s skills are essential to business performance, but the tools they use also play a huge role. With a majority of employees naming outdated processes, policies and workflows (59%) as their biggest productivity pain point, assessing your tools and training should be made front and centre.

But in an increasingly complex digital landscape, it can be hard to know where to start. Based on my experience in curating productivity solutions for businesses, the key considerations when deciding on what tools to use should be prioritising standardisation, cost efficiencies and committing to training employees.

A good place to start? Explore productivity software such as Nitro’s Productivity Suite that can provide simple solutions to common day to day office gripes (for example, difficulties editing documents that are in a different format, or the necessity of printing to sign and other print-related issues).

Investing in training

With 70% of all workers note that lack of proper training is responsible for much of their loss in productivity, noticing where in the organisation this training is required is a key first step. For example Nitro’s report points to a need for companies to prioritise Gen X and Baby Boomers as they are twice as likely to feel neglected by their employers when it comes to training or investment in the latest technologies, compared to 18-25 year-olds.

While training and education can feel like costly investments, there are steps you can take up front to ensure you’re making the most of these opportunities. Companies can look at, working with employees on their growth plan to identify areas that need levelling up helps improve the training journey, and sticking to the plan with regular check-ins is imperative.

In addition, taking advantage of onboarding and training resources provided by technology vendors is key (make sure it’s worked in as a part of the agreement). This leaves important lessons up to the experts and frees your company up to focus on the work at hand.