Cut the small stuff and you cut the productivity

A little goes a long way.

That old cliché can be applied to multiple industries and rings true in a wide range of contexts: from hospitality to teaching, and sport to business management.

Take hospitality. The most up market hotels are often distinguished by the small touches – from the start to the beginning of the experience. Details like a warm smile at reception, help with your luggage, high-quality linen in your room and complimentary services may seem barely noticeable, but they make a huge difference to the overall experience. These are the details people write about in reviews.

Let’s look at teaching. It’s undeniable that teachers get out what they put in. That extra bit of care is what separates an excellent teacher from a good teacher. A small bit of research into a new learning method, for example, may help inspire otherwise completely uninterested students, even if it’s only one or two.

The general attitude of focusing on the small details also works wonders with one’s work ethic. It punishes laziness, encourages employees to pay attention to detail and overall they’ll find they actually feel rewarded by putting in the effort to add to these finer touches.

You need look no further than the huge growth of success in British cycling. Suddenly we’re winning medals and young people are taking up cycling everywhere. Arguably this has been made possible by the now very well known concept of marginal gains. This is the idea that if you improve every aspect that goes into cycling by 1%, the combined improvement will be enough to make a visible difference in your overall performance.

Every one of these examples can be taken and applied to business. Even if it feels like nothing to you, your employees will notice these small details – it might be the difference between an employee handing in their notice and deciding to stay on. Perks such as free tea and coffee and social nights out make a huge difference to morale. Staff will feel hard done by if they hear their peers and friends being treated to extravagant work days away, while they’re slogging at the same job day after day without even a free lunch in sight.

Investing time and money into small touches will increase motivation, boost morale – and naturally, stimulate productivity. Never underestimate the value of a small gesture.

Next Bank Holiday, why not let your staff leave half an hour earlier?

Image credit: Closeup portrait of a group of business people laughing by LyndaSanchez licensed under Creative commons 5