The purpose of all businesses is to provide value to society and receive compensation for the value provided. Value can be a physical good, such as a TV or car, or a service, such as a haircut, car repair or financial advice. Productivity is the amount of value a company produces per each productive hour worked by an employee. There are many factors that can affect productivity in the workplace.
Technology is one of the most important factors that determines the productivity of workers. The more technology workers can use to produce value, the higher their productivity tends to be. For instance, if a news writer had to compose and revise articles using a typewriter, it would likely take him longer to complete an article than if he was able to use a computer and word processing program. Technologies that enable workers to perform tasks more quickly result in more output per hour worked by employees.
Specialization is another important factor that can increase productivity. Workers might be able to perform several different tasks with average efficiency but no tasks with great efficiency. Workers who specialize in certain areas can gain experience and increase their efficiency in doing a specific task, increasing overall productivity of a business. For instance, factories often make use of assembly lines where each worker specializes in one small task. Five workers who each build different parts of a car likely will produce more total units than five workers who try to build cars individually.
Communication and trust between workers is an essential part of productivity. Workers need to be directed by managers so they know what tasks to perform and when to perform them. Failure to communicate can result in wasted efforts. For example, if two workers do not communicate well, they may both work on the same task, even if the task only requires one person's attention.
Morale describes how motivated workers are and how happy they are in their jobs. Happy, motivated workers who like their jobs are likely to be more productive than workers with low morale. Workers with low morale may not value their jobs and could shirk responsibilities or work slower than if they were highly motivated. Employers use a variety of strategies to attempt to increase morale, such as offering raises, better job benefits and bonuses for those who are especially productive.