5 Reasons Why Employees are Unproductive

It can be so easy for organization managers and supervisors to blame their employees for their unproductiveness. Words such as ‘lazy’, ‘tardy’, ‘lethargic’, and ‘inattentive’ are often thrown around with little to no context. 

However, it is important to know that employee unproductivity might be caused by other factors, such as workplace issues, office culture, lack of training and career development, and even the decisions and changes in the organization. 

Here are 5 reasons why your employees are unproductive. 


Managers and supervisors think that pinning their staff with multiple tasks at a time promotes productivity since they will never be in a situation where they have nothing to do. However, this is a years-old mindset. 

Being assigned to multiple assignments with deadlines close to one another voids the concentration of the employee. There is too much load and information and they won’t be able to focus all their energy on one. Instead, their time, including ideas and effort, will be divided and the outcome will be sub-par compared to when they are given one project at a time. 

Workplace Stress

Workplace stress is caused by too much work, too little time. When an employee feels job-related anxieties, they lose concentration and are hounded by distractions. This leads to unfinished assignments or second-rate work quality. 

Workplace stress can also lead to multitasking which as discussed, is not recommended if someone is aiming to be productive. Managers should plan and disseminate tasks efficiently and according to the skills of the person or of the team. Seniors should avoid overloading employees with too much work that has to be done in such little time if they want to avoid workplace stress. 

No sense of belongingness 

Another important factor that contributes to employee unproductivity is having no sense of belongingness. It is important to up the morale and energy of every employee and managers can start doing this by appreciating their hard work and acknowledging a job well done. 

In the case of new hires, teach them the ways, principles, goals, and values of the organization so that they and the rest of the staff are standing on the same page. Make them feel that the organization welcomes them and that supervisors and other senior employees are always willing to help them if needed. 

Lack of recognition

Words of recognition and acknowledgment in the workplace come a long way and do wonders for the productivity of an employee. However, managers, sometimes, overlooked how important this is. 

When employees are not recognized for their efforts or for a job well done, they lose motivation to work and this results in a decrease in productivity and unhappy employees. Sooner or later, managers would find themselves a handful of resigning employees. 

Sometimes, a sincere “good job” and “thank you for your hard work” are all that an employee needs to hear so managers should practice saying kind words of recognition when needed. 

Unclear Workflow

Another important reason for employee unproductivity could be an unclear workflow and bad organizational structure within the organization. This is when there is a failure of workflow optimization and poor management. 

In bigger organizations, where there is a lot of employees and departments, there is often a gap in communication. This can lead to a confusing workflow where no one knows who is working on which. Worse, two departments unknowingly working on one thing and failing to work on another task, thinking that the other department has covered it. 

One method to solve this dilemma is to let everybody know which works need to be done and what is already done through a management board everyone can see. This can be done with a traditional physical whiteboard or through online management websites like Trello or Monday.com.