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Productivity

Via Workplace Insight : Nine out of ten employees believe flexible working is key to boosting productivity

Data published by HSBC claims that flexible and remote working practices are more likely than financial incentives to motivate staff and ultimately increase workplace productivity. A study of British businesses and employees found that nine in ten employees surveyed (89 percent) consider flexible working to be a key motivator to their productivity levels within the workplace – a view shared equally among male and female employees (87 percent and 90 percent respectively) – and more so than financial incentives (77 percent). Alongside this, 81 percent of workers who can work remotely believe this opportunity helps them to improve their productivity, making a clear link between flexible working cultures and increased business productivity levels.

Regions where flexible working is more popular, such as London (where 30 percent of workers have the option) and the South East (32 percent), generally see the highest levels of productivity in the UK (where productivity, as defined by the ONS, is calculated as output per worker or output per hour worked ). In contrast, only 18 percent of employees in Wales, where productivity levels are lower, are offered the opportunity to work flexible hours – suggesting that companies providing a better work life balance may be paving the way for a more productive workforce as employees feel more motivated.

The most productive sector – the professional services industry – is the most likely to offer employees flexible hours, with 36 percent of professional services employees saying it is available to them. Whereas, in the retail, hospitality and leisure industry, where one in four workers (24 percent) are not offered benefits or perks of any kind (including flexible working), productivity is lowest. In Q2 2017 output per hour stood at just £23.00 in this sector (significantly lower than the national average of £32.20) while the sector with the highest output per hour, professional services, had an average of £68.10 per hour.

The study also highlights a disparity between the working style options employees believe to be most motivating and those that they are offered – as the vast majority of employees who are currently offered flexible working believe it motivates them, yet less than a third (30 percent) of business offer it. The deficit is most apparent in the manufacturing industry where nearly all employees currently offered the benefit (91 percent) believe the opportunity to work more flexibly would improve their motivation and productivity at work, yet less than a quarter (23 percent) have the option.

Far from being an attitude associated only with younger workers, flexible working is valued most by 35-44 year olds of whom 59 percent value the opportunity ‘a great deal’, compared to just 47 percent of millennials (under 35s). Suggesting cash isn’t always king, good workplace culture was cited as being crucial to improving workplace productivity, while more than half of employees (53 percent) believe work they find interesting boosts their productivity levels. Furthermore, almost one on five (18 percent) employees cite poor work life balance as a reason for leaving their last job – a problem many companies could address with flexible working.

Via CBC News : Tips on increasing productivity and battling workplace distractions

Turn off the notifications on everything — ignore the beeping phone noise every once and a while

Many workers need to concentrate deeply to get their work done, yet workplace design, technology and our colleagues conspire to distract us.

This has never been truer given workplace layouts with he notifications our phones and computers generate and how we’ve convinced ourselves our entourage requires a response to everything all the time.

Distractions are problematic. They sap the finite resource we have between our ears.

The energy required to restart our concentration after being distracted by checking email, talking to a colleague or responding to a phone notification is significant.

People and others who work with their hands figured this out a long time ago. When is the last time you saw a welder with an eye on their Facebook feed and a hand on a welding torch?

Knowledge workers could learn a lot from the disciplined focus and concentration trades people demonstrate every day.

Here are a few steps to counter the productivity-robbing and brain-power-depleting distractions.

Carving out, scheduling and protecting time for focused concentration.

Removing yourself from the hubbub works.

Employers are increasingly amenable to working from home or another location to accomplish those specific tasks requiring quiet and full attention.

Thankfully modern office designs are including more and more quiet spaces for meetings or focused work that can be reserved.

Having a notification-free zone can help too.

Turning off the notifications on everything and learning to ignore the urge to constantly check stuff that beeps, vibrates and sings you a song is huge.

You are rewarding the same part of your brain that enjoys sugar and you are indulging in a very destructive habit that is killing your focus and productivity.

Email batching

Evidence from researchers at UBC associate increased levels of workplace stress to how often you check emails.

Try carving out times in the day to send out emails, rather than respond every second.

Practitioners of email batching schedule 2-4 windows per day when they do nothing but send emails.This requires you to refrain from believing the world will stop if you don’t respond in milliseconds.

You may indeed annoy others, check that, you will annoy those who are conditioned to rapid fire email responses from you. They’ll get used to it.

It’s better to disappoint some folks by responding a few hours later and deliver required results over pleasing yourself and others but not delivering on the work that needs deep thinking.

Even worse is dragging unfinished work home at night and blaming distractions you could manage otherwise with a bit of discipline, scheduling and systems.

Devise an end of work day mantra to tell your brain your work is done for today

Author Cal Newport sheepishly admits his personal end of day routine is to rise from his chair and boldly proclaim “system shutdown complete.”

He’s referring to himself not his computer.

It’s a playful but clear signal to his brain that it’s now time to recharge with food, family and leisure not to mention much needed sleep.

He makes a compelling case for why you’ll be way better off tomorrow by doing a deliberate work shutdown at days end.

His book Deep Work-Rules for Focused Success in the Age of Distraction is chock-full of other helpful strategies.

Bad habits regarding distractions are destructive to our wellbeing and our productivity. As leaders, when we model such behaviour we infect others.

By “shutting the door and unplugging the phone” you give yourself a chance to minimize the productivity-robbing nature of workplace distractions.

Time to check the afternoon’s email batch.

Via The Business Journals : ​5 ways managers can fuel productivity in the workplace

Whether you’re working in HR or as a manager of a team, keeping up productivity levels is essential.

However, in an eye-opening TEDTalk titled “Why work doesn’t happen at work,” software engineer Jason Fried argues that the main barriers to productivity are the people who should be actively trying to improve it: managers.

Here are five reasons managers may be hindering productivity and how they can turn things around:

1. Eliminate excessive meetings

One of the biggest barriers to workplace productivity is a calendar full of meetings. We’ve all experienced that feeling when you leave a long meeting and your brain feels completely fried.

The fact is that meetings not only take away time, but they also deplete your employees’ decision-making and concentration power, making it harder to jump back into their regular tasks. In fact, a survey found that 45 percent of senior executives believe employees would be more productive if meetings were banned for at least one day a week.

While you can’t eliminate meetings altogether, it’s important that managers learn how to run each one effectively by carefully considering who should be included, keeping them to 30 to 45 minutes, keeping people on track, sharing an agenda in advance, and creating clear action steps for follow-up.

2. Cut down on stress

More and more companies are realizing the major impact that workplace stress can have on productivity. Looming deadlines and balancing work-life conflicts can lead to a lack of sleep, low fitness levels and, ultimately, a drastic decline in engagement and productivity.

A study by Willis Towers Watson found that out of respondents who were experiencing high stress levels, 57 percent claimed to be disengaged. Additionally, highly stressed employees were reported to take an average of 4.6 sick days per year as opposed to low-stress employees, who took only 2.6 days.

One of the most powerful solutions is to encourage more communication with managers. Every leader should be having regular one-on-ones with each report. This is the perfect time to check in and find out if there is anything causing stress in their employees’ work life or a personal issue that could be impacting their work.

Gallup found that only 15 percent of employees who do not meet with their manager regularly are engaged.

Employees don’t want to be treated simply as a source of revenue. This is reflected in the fact that a number of studies, including Google’s Project Oxygen, have found that the most highly rated leaders regularly express an interest in their team members’ well-being and development. The more you know about what’s causing stress in your team members’ work and personal lives, the better you’ll be able to help them overcome these barriers and become more engaged and productive.

3. Share productivity hacks

Sharing knowledge, especially about workplace hacks that will make your employees’ lives easier, should be a key part of your learning and development strategy. Google did this by leveraging its intelligent and diverse workforce to create an ecosystem of peer learning in which employees are encouraged to share knowledge on different topics with each other. This is how Googler Chade-Meng Tan was able to teach and share the benefits of mindfulness within the company.

Consider holding voluntary learning sessions where you share tips and new tools that will help employees organize their time efficiently, prioritize tasks, deal with stress, etc. Opening it up so that it’s not only managers but also peers who have the opportunity is a great way to tap into your wider knowledge base.

What’s more, Google found that even without teaching experience, these peer teachers were just as effective in training others.

4. Give feedback in real time

A major factor that surfaces in low productivity is lack of guidance. In fast-paced environments, it can be easy for employees to feel their manager doesn’t have the time to give them advice ad hoc.

Willis Towers Watson found that 37 percent of respondents felt their managers didn’t have time to deal with the people aspects of their job. If employees are left in the dark about their performance, they’ll simply move on to the next task and continue making the same mistakes until review time.

Sacrificing development in favor of other responsibilities is the No. 1 mistake managers can make. Encourage your managers to be available for feedback when your employees need it most. Investing in a feedback tool allows managers to answer feedback on the go via mobile and keeps feedback requests top of mind with notifications.

5. Recognize achievements

Of course, never forget the power of positive feedback. Though recognizing an employee’s achievements seems like a simple thing, according to Gallup, only one in three workers in the United States strongly agree that they’ve received recognition or praise in the past seven days.

The fact is that showing appreciation has an even deeper impact than your managers might expect. A study by Globoforce found that 82 percent of employees are motivated by recognition and 78 percent would even work harder if they were recognized and appreciated more.

In fact, another study found that 83 percent found recognition to be even more fulfilling than rewards or gifts.

Rather than simply telling managers to give more positive feedback, the most effective way to make sure employees receive the recognition they need is by infusing it into your culture. Here at Impraise, we have a ritual of setting aside time during our weekly all-hands meeting to recognize rockstar peers, managers or reports for great work or for taking the time to help out others.

via Dynamic Business Increase Productivity In Three Easy Steps 

Getting the most out of the work day is an important goal for most employees and organisations. Maintaining solid productivity levels is one of the most important factors in keeping a business profitable. Growth in productivity not only lowers costs, it permits sustainable growth and promotes efficiency. Improving productivity is not only favourable for businesses, it’s a vital step towards achieving manageable workloads and ensuring staff wellbeing.

While achieving productivity for both employee and employer can feel elusive at times, there are actually some quick and easy ways to optimise the workspace and encourage greater efficiency. Here are three:

TIP 1: TWO SCREENS ARE BETTER THAN ONE

Increasing your digital ‘desk’ space by introducing multiple monitors is a proven solution to boost productivity and maximise workflow. The benefit of working across two screens means work can be spread across monitors, allowing users to compare documents andeliminating the arduous ritual of clicking back and forth between windows. In fact, research shows the user-friendly nature of multi-screening significantly improves productivity. According to a survey by Jon Peddie Research, adding an extra monitor will increase productivity by 20-30% [i]. This is also supported by a Wall Street Journal report, which revealed people using a larger monitor could save two and a half hours per day.

TIP 2: CREATE A FLEXIBLE APPROACH TO WORKING

Bring your own device (BYOD) is a transformative IT trend that has been successful in improving workflow efficiencies and supporting more flexible work environments. Whether at home or in the office, BYOD allows for the different environments to share the same devices, which has an interesting flow-on effect. A Stamford University Study found at-home employees are actually more productive in total[ii]. Additionally, BYOD has another productivity benefit: using devices in the workplace that you’re comfortable with and that are suited to your needs allows greater freedom to get through work-related tasks. This is supported by a Forbes study indicating 49% of users say they are more productive using their own devices[iii], demonstrating that the more comfortable and familiar employees are with their devices, the more productive they will be.

TIP 3: WORK COMFORTABLY AND MORE PRODUCTIVELY

Fine-tuning a desk setup to be more ergonomic can help make work flow a lot smoother, consequently building productivity. Without ergonomic workspaces, staff are prone to placing strain on the body, repeating movements without proper support and making larger movements than necessary. In fact, studies show that injuries resulting from poor workplace ergonomics account for 34% of all lost workday injuries and illnesses. Overall, trying to complete tasks that are physically taxing impacts efficiency, so it’s a good start to set a work environment that avoids problems such as repetitive strain injury (RSI), back pain, or even fatigue. By creating a workplace designed for good posture, less exertion, fewer motions with better heights and reaches, productivity will naturally follow.

Productivity can be achieved through a number of methods, but making minor improvements to your surroundings can greatly influence overall productivity. Making the most of your time is critical to your wellbeing and success in the workplace, so allocating a little time to planning your space will guarantee a productive working culture.

via Inc.com9 workplace hacks to increase productivity and happiness (but most bosses don’t think of them)

Since people, culture, and productivity in the workplace are the little planets that revolve around my professional universe, I subscribe to and receive a ton of information, research, and product offers from companies that know what they’re talking about.

One of those companies is Sydney-based Redii–an employee recognition and reward software firm. Redii has put together an e-mail series of daily tips–from science and studies to real life examples–that help companies cultivate a greater workplace.

I’ve compiled a digest of their best stuff so far. Stay tuned for more Redii office hacks in the future.

Lighting Matters

Psychologist Ron Friedman, in his book The Best Place to Work, says that the presence of ample daylight and windows have a positive impact on people’s well-being. In fact, having a view of the outdoors has been shown to promote performance in the workplace. Employees who sit near a window are better at staying on task, show greater interest in their work and represent more loyalty to their company. According to HOK, a global design, architecture and engineering firm, better workplace lighting (both natural daylight and artificial light) has been linked to a 15 percent reduction in absenteeism in office environments. Other studies have reported productivity increases ranging from 2.8 to 20 percent attributed to optimum lighting levels.

Bring Your Pet to Work

According to The Balance, allowing pets in the office can boost a customer’s perception of the business. Most customers have a positive reaction when they are offered a chance to interact with an employee’s pet, and it can help them to relax and enjoy their visit to the business. Having pets in the office also tends to soften the company’s image and makes a business seem more progressive and forward thinking.

Listen to White Noise

Psychologist Ron Friedman cites studies revealing that sound can influence our performance in surprisingly powerful ways. Leaving the office not an option? A pair of headphones can do the trick. Websites like Coffitivity.com re-create the low hum of a cafe, cutting down on lost wages and lost productivity, which research suggests can provide a creative boost, while Simplynoise.com offers the constant swish of white noise to mask distractions when your work requires deep concentration.

Start an Office Fitness Program

One cost-benefit analysis of corporate gyms found they save $1.15 to $5.52 per dollar spent, according to research cited in Fit Over 40 for Dummies by Betsy Nagelsen McCormack and Mike Yorkey. Companies that instituted fitness programs experienced decreased absenteeism, lower turnover rates and reduced usage of sick leave, which saved money and increased productivity. And according to Rise, a Vancouver-based, HR technology company, several well-known companies are using FitBit’s wrist tracker technology for wellness initiatives that inspire competition and reward their most active employees. While dishing out $150 for a wristband for every employee may not be feasible for most companies, the main takeaway from using FitBit is to encourage small, fun contests with small, fun rewards

Spread Knowledge Inside Bathroom Stalls

Inside Google bathrooms, you’ll find weekly updated flyers at the back of stall doors with tips ranging from proper coding/testing practices to health tips. Different Googlers every week volunteer to write the publications, and more Googlers volunteer to distribute them in their own buildings. A quick read in the bathroom is a great way to learn snippets of knowledge. Seeing the same tips five days in a row also helps memory reenforcement.

Allow Employees Flexibility

According to the 2010 Workplace Flexibility in the U.S report, flexible work–allowing employees to work when, how and where they choose–boosts employee engagement. In fact, 60 percent of employees with high access to flexibility are very satisfied with their jobs, compared with 44 percent of those with moderate access to flexibility and only 22 percent of those with low access to flexibility.

Give Employees a Sense of Belonging

Studies are saying that what employees really want is the sense of belonging that connects them to something bigger and gives their work meaning and purpose. Leaders can tap into that intrinsic motivation by sharing information, discussing strategy and the future. Take HubSpot for example: They have elevated transparency to another level by using its internal wiki to openly publish sensitive information such as financials, board meeting decks, strategic discussions and much more. This idea builds trust and loyalty because employees are allowed to see who their company and its leaders truly are. They feel like they belong in the family.

Extend Goals to Include Work, Family, and Personal Life

A family business with over 25 years in the property and construction industry, Australia’s Cobild has an incredible culture. Coblid believes that there are three aspects to a person’s life–work life, family life, and personal life. At the beginning of every year the team is encouraged to plan out the year aligned with what they would like to achieve for the three areas of their life. The management then create an action plan and work together to hit those targets. In 2016, Cobild was one of 50 Best Places to Work for companies under 100 employees.

Implement Nap Time (Yes, I’m Serious)

Psychologist Ron Friedman, in The Best Place to Work, says 20-30 minute naps have been proven to boost productivity, increase alertness, quicken motor reflexes, raise accuracy, improve decision-making, enhance creativity, and bolster memory. Yahoo! and Time Warner outsource their napping to local spas that allow employees to recharge in private rooms, complete with aromatherapy and a selection of nature soundtracks. Zappos, Ben & Jerry’s, even Nike designate in-office “quiet rooms” for employees to sleep or meditate.

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