What is Productivity? How to Define and Measure It?

Productivity is critical in any work we are doing. It gives us better results on the task. We must always look forward to increasing our productivity in everything we do. But we often get stuck on many questions like how we define productivity, how to measure productivity, how to increase productivity, and so on. These questions trouble many of us because we tend not to have the right details about them. In this article, we will learn what productivity is, the types of productivity, the importance of productivity, and ways to measure and increase it.

What Is Productivity?

Productivity is a way of measuring the effectiveness of any work. We can say a lot about productivity by comparing two similar things. For instance, we can compare the productivity of two people doing the same work but with different outputs. The one who gives better output in lesser time can be called more productive. So, the best way productivity can be defined as when a particular work is done in a better way, with minimum inputs, and in the least amount of time. Having said that, with the right use of productivity, we can easily track complex areas like economic growth, financial growth, or even the day-to-day duties of teams.

Types of Productivity

The two main types of productivity are -

Partial Factor Productivity

It is measured using the ratio between total output and single input.

Multifactor or total productivity

It is measured using the ratio between total output and subsets of inputs.

Why is Measuring Productivity Important?

Productivity is one of the best ways to define growth and progress at any job. Higher productivity suggests better efficiency in the work.

If an individual focuses on improving productivity, overall speed, efficiency, and quality of work are expected to be changed. In totality, this commits better results in terms of targets, achievements, and even business profits. Here are some of the primary benefits we can derive from increased productivity in different sections.

  • Effective utilization of goods and services

  • Reduction in cost of producing any goods

  • Lower per-head costs

  • More profits for businesses

  • Better growth

Ways to Measure Productivity in the Workplace

Organizations calculate overall team productivity using different graphs, chats, etc. However, some of the key ways to measure productivity can be as follows -

  • Measuring profits

  • Measuring the number of people involved in a particular task’s completion

  • Measuring the amount of time

  • Measuring customer satisfaction

  • Comparing work time vs products manufactured/ tasks done

Methods that Help Improve Productivity

We can increase productivity in anything, but we need to know all the factors involved in the task and follow some popular methods and practices. Here, we will learn different standard methods to increase productivity -

Methods to Increase a Team's Productivity

Goal making

Organizations need to plot clear goals that they want to achieve in a particular time span. Team members should be given work to accomplish by a particular time. The work should be given based on different team members' skills, availability of time, and resources.

Larger projects into smaller tasks

It is difficult to achieve the goals of larger projects without breaking them into smaller tasks. That way, it becomes easy to accomplish targets at a faster rate. The sums of smaller targets will be equal to those of larger ones, leading to the achievement of the main task.


There remain many tasks in an organization that makes employees overwhelmed. It is better to ask them to complete the important ones first, then ask them to move on to the next ones. These will lead to better productivity among employees than doing multiple tasks at a time, which kills efficiency and hence productivity.


Feedback is very necessary to keep your associates motivated and focused on their goals. They will get to know the areas where they are doing well and where they need to improve. Constant and timely assessment of work and measuring productivity to offer a piece of guidance can prove influential.

Creating a positive environment

Employees feel good while working in a positive environment. They tend to achieve higher targets when working in a favorable and friendly environment. The bottom line is, people seek understanding, help, collaboration, and guidance from other team members to achieve a company goal. Developing such an atmosphere for work can considerably improve overall team productivity.


Incentive programs make employees very motivated, and they are more eager to accomplish their tasks. Introducing an incentive program among employees can help to increase the overall productivity of a team.

Providing the right resources

Increased productivity is a result of the utilization of the right resources for the right purpose in the right amount of time. To do so, the availability of the needful knowledge, training programs, stationery, and other inputs is necessary.

Flexible time

Employees should be given their own flexible time to complete the tasks. While deadlines are necessary, flexibility in choosing work place and time can considerably boost people’s productivity.

Individual Productivity

Working Smart

In today’s competitive world, one must work smart rather than hard. But, while doing so, no compromise should be made with quality and authenticity. Working smart simply means the right use of smart tools, methods, and techniques.

Following Lists

To achieve maximum results, you must essentially know what is on your plate. Start each work day with a list of tasks to be accomplished. You can go on to prioritize it and then work on it. This method can improve one’s efficiency over time.

Giving Cheat Breaks

Whenever we struggle too much for achieving more, we tend to waste more of our valuable time. In such cases, allow yourself some coffee and reel breaks once in a while. You can consider using the POMODORO technique and work more productively in 25-minute slots and allow yourself a 5-minute break between two POMODOROs.

Making Realistic Plans

Don’t set goals that you cannot achieve. Refrain from adding all top-priority tasks in a single day. Divide your tasks, and plan realistic goals to be achieved in a particular time span (say a week). You must learn to set goals and avoid overburdening yourself.


Productivity is very important in any task you do in your personal and professional life. And by doing so you will witness the growth and increased quality in every area of life and work. Apart from that, training your teams to be productive stands essential. It is important to understand that productivity is more about a disciplined approach than about work vs time calculations.

Updated on: 13-Dec-2022


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