Productivity vs efficiency — how to spot the difference and which one you and your team should prioritize?

Productivity vs efficiency — how to spot the difference and which one you and your team should prioritize? - Luxafor

We all want to be a little more productive at work, right? Or maybe we are looking for ways to be more efficient at work? But what does that mean exactly? We use the words ‘’productivity” and “efficiency” a lot when talking about the results we want to reach. But have you ever wondered how productivity is different from efficiency? The main difference is productivity refers to the quantity of work, but efficiency refers to the quality. However, one cannot go without the other. 


In this blog post, you will learn the differences between productivity and efficiency and some useful tips to increase them.

What is productivity?

When referring to productivity, we talk about the amount of work that can be done. Usually, measured by output per hour or work day. And when focusing on productivity, more tasks can be done in a shorter time. Usually, the idea of productivity is explained like this – if you increase the input (used resources) the output ( produced goods or services) will increase. Due to the busy and competitive environment, we all are in, entrepreneurs and business leaders are looking forward to results and numbers of reached goals. But in reality, it’s not that simple, so we need to talk about efficiency as well. 

What is efficiency?

On the other hand, efficiency is working smarter, not harder, or in other words “doing things right’’. Efficiency is about right and smart ways of resource usage and seeking better, more effective ways of reaching the goals. Particularly, it’s about how well resources are used to achieve the output, and when you focus on efficiency, you focus on achieving the same (or more) using fewer resources.

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Source: Pexels

How to increase productivity?

There are so many ways to increase productivity and some things will work for one and some – for others. But there are a few fundamental tips to use in your everyday workflow if you want to increase productivity. Here are 3 of them: 

1. Stop multitasking

Multitasking still is the way most of us deal with everyday tasks, but actually, it lowers productivity. Getting distracted and not focusing on the specific task, will add to the needed time to get things done. The best way is to set particular tasks, rank them in urgency and complete them one by one.

2. Eliminate distractions

As same as multitasking, distractions take your focus away from the task in front of you. Working in an office or working remotely has different distractions but still, it can result in a lack of productivity. The best way is to shut down the noise and shoo the distractions away.  How? Turn off your email and phone notifications, close the doors if needed and let others know you are busy. For example, use Luxafor Orb to indicate that you are busy and set the color code, for example – red. Let the team know when you are open to conversation and when – busy focusing on urgent tasks. 

3. Take a break

We all have been in there – everything feels out of place, there are no results and the to-do list is still long. If productivity is dropping rapidly, it’s a sign to take a break. Of course, most of us will try to push through, but it’s not the best way to deal with a lack of productivity. Actually, taking a break will let you relax, gather thoughts and come back with new energy to get things done.

Office work 11 - Luxafor
Source: Pexels

How to increase efficiency?

Increasing efficiency is based on finding ways to improve the work process and setting smarter goals. It’s about knowing your and your team’s strengths and weak spots. It’s about how you manage and plan to use given resources when reaching for higher goals. Here are 3 tips you should consider if you want to increase the efficiency:

1. Match tasks to skills

As previously mentioned, efficiency is about working smarter. So what’s the better way than using the talents or skills you or your team has. Expecting everyone to be good at everything just isn’t efficient – instead, consider who is best suited for the task. Finding the best match will bring the best results and save a lot of time. And if needed, learning new skills can be a solution as well.

2. Team management is the key

Delegating tasks, setting clear goals, and communicating should be essential parts of team management. And it will boost the efficiency as well. Again about the ‘working smarter’ part, managing how the team works and that everyone is on the same page will bring you better results and save time. Maybe, the patterns of workflow should be changed? Or the team briefs should be organized more often? Or the ways of communication should be different? These are just a few questions you should ask yourself when managing the team.

3. Give a place to grow

Giving feedback and learning new skills will help the team grow and develop the capability of getting things done. Reaching for better results requires better skills and knowledge, so you should think about ways to improve and learn. The most basic way is to give feedback about tasks or projects. And if you see a lack of skill, seek ways to get better – online courses, how-to videos, or talking with someone who is good at it, it’s up to you.

Office work 12 - Luxafor
Source: Pexels

Productivity vs efficiency —which one you and your team should prioritize?

The simple answer is – both. And as we determined previously, one cannot go without the other. But in real life nothing is that simple, right? Actually, the key and the main goal everyone should be reaching for is to find the balance between the two. You should be productive enough to meet your goals, but not as much as to waste energy, resources, and time, on things that are unnecessary or done in not an efficient way. So here strategy and management step in.

By all means, productivity is important, but efficiency levels are just as vital if you want your team to be happy and healthy without the stress or pressure to reach higher and higher goals.

To sum up

A team that works as one, focuses on the same goals, and aims for the best results is the team we all are longing for. Team members are the most valuable part of the company and they should be treated like that when talking about results they should reach. Remember, productivity can be boosted by increasing efficiency and vice versa. To do so, look for ways to improve both – productivity and efficiency, and the best results will follow.


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