Increasing Employees’ Productivity While They Are Away From Their Desks

May 17, 20178:37 am353 views

Can you recall the last time you had a less than productive day at work, when you didn’t accomplish everything that you had set out to do? You may have found yourself jumping between tasks, unable to stay focused on the task at hand. It could be probably more recent than you’d care to admit.

We all have off days, so how do you hold your employees to the highest standard, and keep productivity at a maximum?

There are dozens of ways to increase productivity, while not suffocating your staff in the process. Some tricks may seem obvious at first, but when considered slightly differently, can shed light on a new way of thinking.

Many of these tricks can even be implemented outside of your employee’s immediate workspace. Encouraging movement away from the desk can often lead to an immediate spike in productivity.

Here are some ideas on how to increase the productivity of your employees while they’re away from their desks.

  • Offer breakfast or coffee each morning

We all have rough morning now and then. Where we just don’t want to get out of bed, or we forget to set an alarm, and find ourselves rushing out the door. An unfortunate side effect of a hurried morning can be missing breakfast. This can be extremely detrimental to what is often the most productive time of the day.

A hungry employee is a distracted employee. If they’re satisfied in the morning hours, they’re more likely to succeed throughout the morning, before the distractions of a busy office environment hinders their performance.

Coffee or green tea can also offer a great boost to productivity. Caffeine can boost your ability to concentrate, and improve mental alertness, leading to more focused, productive employees.

  • Encourage regular breaks away from the desk

Everyone gets stuck on problems; times where they slow down during the day. As soon as one of your employees feels less than their best, encourage them to get up and take a walk and get up out of their seat.

A quick change of scenery can get the blood flowing, increase creativity, generate new original ideas, and serve as a quick refresher. Once they return to their desk they’ll feel refreshed and ready to reengage in their work. Also, if they take a quick break in the middle of a task, they may return to it already thinking about the problem, and pick right up where they left off.

As opposed to only taking breaks at the end of assignments, where once they return to their desk they’re staring at a blank page. This can be discouraging, and diminish productivity.

  • Give your employees a separate work environment/lounge

Changing environments can be an instant fix for a dragging day. If you notice one of your employees starting to get distracted or anxious, encourage them to pick up and move to a different location. Providing an environment away from the typical workplace can spark inspiration. Having a fixed area that your employees associate with work, but also removing the stigma of being stuck at the desk all day.

Try offering your employees a work lounge with some windows, art, or maybe a TV/radio to lighten the ambience.

See: How about “A Snack and Drink Rebate” Program to Boost Employee Productivity?

Giving your employees an outdoor environment to take their laptops or paperwork can also provide a breath of fresh air on a sunny day. Everyone enjoys being outside on a sunny day, and the extra sunlight will increase vitamin D levels which will also leave them in a better mood throughout the day. Why not schedule a walk and talk style meeting outside, instead of the usual conference room.

  • Place a water cooler, just a short walk away

A water cooler can offer benefits in more ways than one. A quick walk to stretch the legs can increase blood flow and clear the mind in an instant. The water cooler can also help as a reminder to your employees to stay hydrated throughout the day. Severe dehydration can lead to decreased cognition and mental focus. Much like being hungry, being thirsty can be a huge distraction.

  • Offer standing desks

While going for a walk is great, sometimes that’s needed is a quick stretch. As opposed to being seated at a desk all day, standing can keep the blood flowing all day, increasing both creativity and focus.

Standing desks offer multitude of health benefits as well. Many employees will find themselves more comfortable standing. Standing desks can lower stiffness and cramps, as well as increase both energy and focus when used periodically throughout the day.

  • Offer better options at the canteen

While some foods can help boost your employee’s productivity, there are also a number of foods to avoid in order to keep your mind sharp. Offering foods that improve alertness and mental focus, but also leave you feeling satisfied for many hours can go a long way in improving both mood and output.

Protein rich foods, as well as foods high in omega 3 fatty acids like fish and peanut butter are great for mental focus. Omega 3s improve memory, recall, and focus. Leafy greens are also a staple in healthy eating because they are so rich in vitamins and nutrients. Dark greens like spinach and kale will increase your body and brain’s ability to absorb oxygen, ultimately improving your mental cognition.

It’s also recommended to avoid foods high in starch and sugar. Sugar can give you a quick boost in mood, but leave you antsy, spaced out, and confused after a longer period. Sugar can also make you feel tired or weak, making it more difficult to push through the workday. After drinking soda or eating a sugary snack, you’ll find you end up going back for more after, just, a few minutes. These foods don’t satisfy you mentally or physically, and will ultimately decrease productivity.


If you want to improve your employee productivity for the long haul, be sure to encourage enthusiasm, teamwork, and reward them when they meet/surpass your expectations. No one wants to feel underappreciated, or unnoticed. If one of your staff member earns recognition, be sure they receive it. Something as little as saying “thank you” can really go a long way.

Author credit:

Breanne Fleat is the chief editor and HR manager, at Created in 2016, ProteinPromo is a nutrition and wellness website providing readers with hints, tips and wellness deals.  

Also read: 9 Tips to Increase Employee Productivity at Work

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