Construction Work Productivity Guide for a Better Workflow
Improving productivity is a challenge that every professional team faces, no matter what industry they’re in. But in the construction industry, peak performance and execution are imperative to maintaining a business flow. Without it, the walls may come crumbling down.
Construction clients naturally want the best from the teams they hire. That’s why strong team leadership and cohesion are essential for success in this industry. But productivity (especially construction productivity) doesn’t come easy. It requires constant effort and dedication to the goal.
Knowing how to increase productivity in construction work can be one of the most powerful catalysts for positive change within your business. Fortunately, there’s enough demand for project management support that the options for improvement are both abundant and accessible.
Common Productivity Challenges Facing The Construction Industry
The construction industry is often fraught with complications. As it’s a technical industry, all areas of both planning and production need to be veritably perfect to avoid angering clients or putting people at risk of physical harm. Improved productivity means improved construction methods. This allows for safer, more efficient work to commence.
But as you probably already know, being more productive is not as simple as it sounds. To achieve a better workflow, you’ll need to look at multiple angles of communication, management, planning, and employee relations to get to the heart of what’s holding your team back from success.
It’s essential to take a hard look at some of the root issues causing friction or stagnation within your construction business. Once you know where the problems lie, you can start to make real, lasting improvements.
- Lack of communication – insufficient communication often results in poor construction productivity. If you want people to execute their tasks in an efficient, productive manner, the way you communicate plans, expectations, and conflicts needs to be done with extreme clarity.
- Sub-par time management – poor time management can destroy businesses - and fast. Without a concise plan for optimizing available time and preventing backlog, any construction team will be placed at a productivity disadvantage.
- Poor employee/employer relations – sometimes, what’s holding a solid workflow back comes down to the way employers and their employees relate to one another. If there is tension, conflict, or social discord between ranks, it can negatively impact productivity.
- Lack of task context – structure and context is extremely important for productivity. If employees are unsure of the end goal or how they are supposed to get there, they won’t be able to execute tasks in a thorough, future-oriented manner. The right instructions can go a long way.
Top Ways to Increase Productivity in Construction
Construction work is no walk in the park. Making sure projects get executed as smoothly as possible requires significant effort, planning, and dedication. But all these loose terms can be challenging to translate into real-life plans that actually make a difference.
When it comes to productivity, you’ve got to start with the basics: communication, planning, and overall team cohesion. If you are looking for fresh, actionable guidance for improved construction productivity, here are ten practical tips to get you started.
1. Adopt smarter communication strategies
Communication is the heart of any business – and when inadequate, it is often the reason behind poor productivity. The construction industry thrives on healthy, constant communication, from explaining a project’s requirements to handling unexpected curveballs.
If you want your team to be more productive, your communication methods need to be assessed. Who is in charge of communicating project specifications to the team? Do employees often have a lot of questions that maybe go unanswered?
Some businesses emphasize team meetings and feedback rooms for employees to discuss projects more openly to strengthen communication. The aim is to make it as easy as possible for the information to be shared, whether in person or online.
2. Reward good work
Construction workers are put under a lot of pressure to perform. However, their efforts are not often fully appreciated or recognized by employers. There is a long history of trade workers being exploited by their superiors. So, some of those outdated cultural behaviors may have worked their way into the present-day with your business.
Any employee’s productivity levels are likely to skyrocket when they feel appreciated and recognized for their efforts. Treating your employees to complimentary rewards after a long day of hard work can make a considerable difference. Even if it’s something as simple as Friday night pizza and beers, it counts.
3. Set realistically achievable goals
If you set unrealistic goals, you put your team in a difficult position to succeed. Setting goals that clearly align with your employee’s capabilities, skills, and level of experience is the best way to guarantee a smooth and cohesive end product.
If you asked a 10-year-old to prepare lobster for the first time, they wouldn’t do an outstanding job – and that would be no fault of their own. The person giving out instructions for a project is responsible for delegating tasks appropriately and fairly.
Set goals for your construction team that you know they can execute well. Don’t throw them into the deep end and hope for the best. Give them work they can perform confidently, and productivity will naturally soar.
4. Train thoroughly
Setting realistic goals is all well and good. But what happens when a client hires you for an advanced job, and no one is equipped to execute it properly? It’s simple: you train them. Thoroughly. Running an ongoing training program for employees who want to improve their skills will add value to your company and reinforce high productivity levels.
Upskilling employees is one of the most powerful things any company can do. It inspires motivation in employees and keeps your business up to date with currently in-demand skills. As a technical industry, new skills and developments in construction are constantly expanding. This makes training one of the most impactful productivity changes you can make to your business.
5. Keep good track of inventory
It’s imperative to keep a stringent record of all supplies coming in and out of a construction business. Building materials are essential for productivity since you cannot start a project unless all of the necessary supplies are accounted for.
Inventory is an area in which many construction businesses underperform when it comes to productivity. It might seem like a less important aspect of productivity than communication or goal setting. But keeping a consistent record of supplies can make a massive difference in how tasks are accomplished.
You can utilize software to help keep track of project supplies, making the task easier. There are plenty of construction apps available to support this aspect of productivity in construction work.
6. Hire a strong management team
A good management team is essential for a robust productivity workflow. Whoever is in charge of delegation, project supervision, and employee management needs to understand both the construction field and the people working within it.
Strong managers who treat employees respectfully play a crucial role in team productivity. Someone (or a group of people) with good listening skills, social skills, and natural foresight will help employees work more effectively and mitigate wasted time or energy.
7. Listen to employee feedback
Listening to what your construction employees have to say about the work environment may bring some insights to your attention you may not have otherwise considered. Knowing how to increase productivity starts with those around you telling you what they think.
When the distance between employers and employees is vast, communication lags, and team cohesion dwindles. Setting up an open-feedback environment for employees to speak up about things they think could be improved will increase productivity and team spirit. Efficiency flourishes when everyone is given a voice.
8. Keep your eye on the prize
Sometimes, productivity levels become scattered because there is a lack of clarity around what is trying to be achieved. Committing to thorough, regular briefing and debriefing sessions across projects can help keep everyone focused on important goals while promoting a sense of unity.
Briefing sessions are an excellent environment for questions to be raised, plans to be run through, and concerns to be dealt with practically. This tip encompasses many aspects of productivity we’ve discussed today: listening, communication, and realistic goal setting. When everyone knows what is expected of them, performing assigned jobs becomes more effortless.
9. Treat employees with respect
Respect and productivity go hand-in-hand. To expect a high standard of work from employees, those in charge need to show a high level of care and consideration for their needs. Low productivity from employees is often indicative of sub-par employee treatment, leaving them exhausted and frustrated with their circumstances.
Fostering a culture of respect for construction will increase motivation, loyalty, and productivity. You can do this by providing good wages, flexible working hours, and generous rewards when appropriate. Any company that wants to see higher productivity must first invest in the health and well-being of its employees.
Productivity is not a static element. It requires constant energy, input, and regulation. Fortunately, we live in a time where the resources available for improving productivity levels are everywhere, making these adjustments easier to execute.
If you want to see your construction team thriving, focus on improving communication methods, setting up open spaces for discussion, and incentivizing your employees with rewards. The more valued your team feels, the more value they will put into their work.