Employee Productivity: How Job Aids Can Boost Workflow

Employee productivity has become a hot topic since the pandemic changed the way we work and live. 

There’s been plenty of discussion about whether or not employees work better from home, as opposed to when they’re surrounded by colleagues and managers.

This has become paramount due to the rise in remote work—a trend that’s set to continue. Statistics also show that remote workers are more productive and have better job satisfaction.

But how are remote employees being more productive? What tools do they have access to that make workflow smoother and more efficient?

One of the most obvious benefits of remote work is that there are fewer distractions—no colleagues to stop by your desk for a quick chat, for instance.

There is another reason why remote workers are more productive—they are given job aids that they can refer to as they don’t have ready access to colleagues to answer questions.

These visual references are valuable tools for boosting productivity for remote workers and in-house staff.

How are job aids connected to employee productivity?

It’s surprising how underused visual work aids are, considering their positive ability to impact workflow. 

Instead of employees feeling lost or having to check in with their managers about next steps, they can simply refer to a visual note for answers.

It’s important to remember that a visual aid isn’t an instruction manual—it’s a short, one-page document that outlines any of the following:

  • Steps to complete a task in a particular order
  • What not to do in any given situation
  • How to complete conditional tasks
  • When to escalate decisions according to circumstances
  • How to keep track of completed tasks

You can see how being able to get this crucial information at a single glance can make staff more productive.

How can workplaces design visual aids that will improve employee efficiency?

This is the tricky part—design isn’t everyone’s strong suit and not all companies have the resources to hire designers.

On the other hand, visuals are excellent learning tools—they stimulate better learning and retention, according to the Virtual Teaching Alliance.

And this extends beyond the classroom to workplace training and the visual aids that companies create to boost staff productivity.

What kind of visuals can be included in these one-page documents?

  • Flow charts
  • Graphs
  • Icons
  • Illustrations
  • Photographs
  • Screenshots
  • Typography
  • Videos

That’s a lot of visuals but you don’t need to use them all!

Here are the best ways to design a visual job aid that employees can understand at a glance:

  • Determine who the aids are for. Survey your team to find out when and why they need visual tools to refer to so you can design accordingly.
  • Keep the goal of the job aid in mind when designing it. Any visual tool that you create should have one primary purpose so it doesn’t confuse employees.
  • Keep your sentences short and use action verbs like ‘click on’, ‘press’, or ‘enter’. These words are clear and precise.
  • Test your job tools! Does the one-pager need more clarification? Is it too dense? Is there a step missing? Is the format correct? Ask the employees who are using it for their feedback.

For example, let’s look at this job aid for employees working the register at a retail store.

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Source: Venngage

The graphic indicates steps for using the clocking in and clock out process, alongside a simple visual.

Using icons and numbers, the graphic explains the first tasks of the day and how to do them. Note how key phrases are highlighted in bold for easy recall.

This is a great example of how a visual tool makes it easier for staff to get through their work efficiently and quickly.

For a new employee or one who isn’t familiar with processing refunds, they have an easy visual reference to turn to. 

They don’t need to stop work and call for assistance or get flustered about the next step because an annoyed customer is waiting.

Visuals and Employee Productivity Go Hand-in-Hand

We are going to see more companies designing aids that improve employee happiness and productivity. 

These visual guides make for excellent tools that employees can print out and pin on a wall, or keep a soft copy on their systems for future reference.

We’re seeing a lot of interest in our job aid templates but I’d like to know whether your companies are using job aids. 

Do you feel like you or your colleagues would benefit from them? What kind of visual aids would work best for your team? Do leave your comments below.

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Ronita Mohan is a content marketer at Venngage, the online infographic maker and design platform. Ronita regularly writes about marketing, design, and small businesses.

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