¶ … Labor Productivity
The lifeline of any project is labor and over the years, the labor provided by human beings has not been effectively substituted even in the face of heavy mechanization of labor and increase in other technological advancements. Karim A.N., (2013:Pp349) estimates that between 30% and 50% of the costs that are incurred in a project often go to the labor sector. Sadly, there has been little productivity issues address sufficiently especially in the developing nations, hence giving room for a lot of wastage and under productivity in many sectors.
There are several factors that influence the labor productivity depending on the field of application of the project. The general agreement is that productivity is the ratio of outputs to inputs and it is argued that it high productivity depends on how well and individual entity utilizes the resources at hand to produce the needed outputs from the inputs. The focus of this paper however will be on the factors that influence this labor productivity, it will outline what factors make the labor force in one project more productive that the labor force in another and thereafter give the possible solutions that need to be put into consideration in the life of every project to ensure the highest productivity possible.
One of the most significant factors that will determine the productivity of an individual is time. Most of the employees involved in an activity or a project ae known to be productive within 8 hours, hence the pegging of the normal working hours to this bracket. However, due to workload, there are instances where the employees are requested to work overtime with some compensation package. However, beyond the 8 hours, the productivity of the individuals will immensely be affected and slowed. Ideally, an employee is most productive in 3.5 hours of the total 8 hours, so if added extra hours it is possible that he will not be as productive as he was in the normal shift time. Productivity is known to decrease with working overtime due to the onset of fatigue, higher absenteeism during the overtime, drop in employee morale at the overtime shift, the supervision drops at this time hence less effective, the workmanship become poor generally. These factors indeed contribute to higher instances of rework and also increase the chances for accidents at work. The idea of working overtime can hence be said that will work initially when introduced in an organization, but as it continues over months, it will become too costly for the organization and yet reduced productivity is experienced instead of increased productivity. It has been determined that a worker on site will utilize 30% of his time in constructive and productive activities, and those employees sent to the field utilize only 20% of their time in direct value adding activities that are related to the assignment (Madan M.G., 2012).
The other factor is the type of project management that is in place. The quality of the skills and the attitude that the project manager has is key to the level of productivity among the people working or handling a project. Apparently, there are many organizations that experience low labor productivity despite having the latest required technology for the job and the experienced people to handle the technology. In many instances, such low productivity is traced down to a management that is inefficient and indifferent, one that does not know how to motivate the crew and to effectively monitor and evaluate the project at hand. Most sensitive projects need a management team that can supervise the project, evaluate it step-by-step and make the necessary adjustments whenever necessary. With an experienced and committed manager handling a project, there is a possibility of him getting surprising results even with a crew that has average experience and capability. This is based on the premises that employees output greatly depends on their willingness to participate...
Even with availability of technology to assist in the production, the qualified laborers will need an effective management team or manager to help in the optimum utilization of the technical and human resources.
Yet another factor that significantly affects the labor productivity is the manpower quality. It is widely considered that the level of experience in the manpower available significantly affects the productivity hence in order to get high labor productivity, the manpower needs to be available but in good quality as well. The persons responsible for selecting the manpower to be used in a given project need to have a reasonably sufficient quality and skilled labor in order to get the needed productivity. In the event that there is lack of skilled labor and the project manager or contractor is forced to make do with unskilled labor, it will be obvious that the level of productivity will be significantly affected. The manpower quality also means the availability of all the required crew members, if there are cases of absenteeism, then it will mean that the absent crew member will negatively affect the production of the other workers who will be striving to fill in his gap. It is worth noting that even a slight adjustment as change of the crew member will affect the productivity since members of a given crew often get used to each other in terms of their coordination hence a change of some of the members for other laborers will affect the. The rampant misunderstandings among the crew members will also bring down the productivity of the crew since there will be lack of agreement on responsibilities and the scope of responsibility hence a lot of work mistakes may occur among the inconsistent manpower.
The type of project or the uniqueness of the project at hand is also known to significantly affect the labor productivity. This comes from the knowledge that to get high productivity, each member of the crew needs to have sufficient skills and experience in the project at hand, hence being able to perform without interruption from the other crew members. Having several laborers, more than is usual work in a given space due to the type of project at hand will lead to interference among the workforce hence negatively affecting production. This same result will be experienced when multiple types of workforce are bundled together to work in the same section. These interferences among separate crews is often as a result of a management that is not well coordinated at the place of the project. If there is a systematic assigning of laborers onto a given project, depending on what goes in first, then there will be saving of time, one instance is when the project is on interior finish of a building, it will be prudent to bring in the plumbers to fix their part before bringing in the carpenters to fix the kitchen furniture, bringing these two crews at the same time will prove to be time wasting and hence compromising the productivity of each team. The uniqueness and the timeliness of a project will significantly affect the productivity of the crew.
The other significant issue or aspect of labor productivity is safety at the project implementation site. Accidents are known to highly affect the productivity of the crew and when major accidents that result to death occur, the crew gets scared and demoralized and the work will need to be stopped for a number of days hence lowering the productivity. In the event that an individual is injured, it will mean that he will be missing from the crew for the days that he will be undergoing medication hence negatively affecting the production of the entire team. Even small safety breaches that may cause accidents like nails on the floor, wet and slippery floors, loosely hanging objects will significantly affect the productivity among the laborers as they will be concentrating on how to safely evade these dangers rather than focusing on the task at hand. As a matter of fact, there are minor things that are often overlooked like the proper lighting of a workplace, yet these are factors that will significantly affect the productivity of the employees and need to be taken care of.
Policies to improve labor productivity
The following factors need to be put in place to ensure there is high productivity among the laborers in line with the already experienced challenges.
There needs to be a site safety officer assigned to every project and his recommendations need to be implemented by the management and guidelines followed by the laborers.
The laborers to be engaged in a project need to be sufficiently trained and experienced before being allowed to commence.
The management needs to constantly work on ways to motivate the employees, and this needs to be a continuous activity.
There needs to be a systematic laying out of duties and responsibilities of crews at site and the work needs to flow in a smooth manner.
There is need for constant…
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