Posts tagged ‘increase productivity’

5 Productivity and Motivation Misconceptions Your Boss Believes Are (Not) True

The Truths Behind the Rules

This is not employee motivation.

It’s been a long held belief that, on the broad spectrum, if something is entertaining then it is distracting. From radios to the internet, the workplace has always been a place of…well, work. Rules such as “No Facebooking” or “No music outside of break” have been implemented for supposed reasons such as to increase productivity or maintain employee motivation. Supervisors will tell their employees that such things do nothing but distract from the report that needs to be filled out or from the project that needs to be done. I disagree. Correction: we at WorkMeter disagree.

We have found the top 4 misconceptions in regards to employee productivity and motivation in the workplace and are posting them here. We even tossed in a little surprise as #1 misconception.

#5 Multitasking Does (Not) Get Things Done Faster

Working on a couple of things is ok. Bouncing every 30 minutes between 10 tasks is not. We all have multiple things going on in our office and it is impossible for us to be doing only one thing at a time. WorkMeter has done the research: it takes about 12 minutes to fully concentrate on any single task. That being said, we are interrupted every 96 SECONDS, be it internal interruptions, such as stray thoughts, or external interruptions, such as a person speaking to you. Minimize the amount you do in any single time. Work in hour intervals between 2 of your upcoming deadlined projects. Keep it few and you will find yourself accomplishing more in less time.
This is a Harvard Business Review article regarding much the same thing.

#4 Taking Online Breaks and Socializing Does Increase Motivation

Online shopping, facebooking, even taking to the guy in the cubical next over is enough to kill the monotony and allow you to start fresh. Employees sometimes need to step back and just stop for a little bit. It could be stress, it could be an issue they don’t see a way around, or it could be just an urge to get up and take a little walk for a couple of minutes. Often times, in jobs on computers, this relaxation is seen in the form of net surfing, a huge taboo in the corporate world. Seen as large time-suck vacuums, many offices forbid their employees from accessing social sites such as Reddit or YouTube, regardless of being shown that they do quite the contrary.
A study done by the University of Singapore proved that Internet surfing, socializing, taking a walk, all of these things and their like serve the purpose of clearing the mind and allowing fresh thoughts and ideas come through, so when work is resumed 5 or 10 minutes later, it’s done with greater motivation and, many times, with better results.
To get a better understanding, see this related post and study.

#3 Working Longer Does (Not) Increase Productivity

Work Productivity
Contrary to popular belief,
this isn’t the productivity award you
want to be winning.

Simply put, staying and working long past your dead zone helps no one. In fact, it hurts. Overtime tends to be a way that managers and supervisors squeeze the extra work out of employees in order to cover an impending deadline or debug a sudden error close to launch, and that isn’t too big of an issue. But when the norm of the workplace becomes 55 and 60 hour weeks, both productivity and motivation will begin to decline. Studies have even shown them to decline exponentially when overtime is pushed week after week.

For a more detailed look at the effects of overtime, check out last weeks post.

#2 Privacy Comes at the Cost of Productivity

Many corporations sacrifice the privacy of their employees in order to maintain an “efficient and productive workforce”. Naturally, Human Resources is there to defend what little privacy right the employees have left. Yet this doesn’t have to be the case as it’s been proven that privacy and productivity can coexist, and WorkMeter itself is a testament to that.
An employer doesn’t need to know the specifics of what an employee is doing on the computer (as long as it isn’t illegal). All they need to know is whether or not they’ve been, or are being, productive. By using productivity software to record and compare the amount of time spent on productive programs in comparison to non-productive programs, they get their answer. An employee spending 2 hours of productive and 6 on non-productive is obviously wasting time, regardless of what those non-productive applications are. Privacy preserved, productivity gauged.
For more on how you can maintain a productive environment without seeming like Big Brother, check this out.

And the top misconception is….

#1 Maroon 5 (or Music in general) Does Boost Output and Moral

Yes, you read right. Half the respondents in a study done by Songza agreed that Maroon 5 makes them more productive at work. But more importantly, MusicWorks released their own study indicating that 1/3 of employees are less likely to take sick days if background music is playing in the office, given that the Confederation of British Industry estimated roughly 21 million working days lost to illegitimate absences each year. As well, they reported that 77% of people were happier with music playing in the workplace than not. The link is simple: music leads to an increase in motivation and moral which leads to increases in productivity and performance.

June 5, 2012 at 5:46 pm 2 comments

Hitting a record: Raising Spain’s Productivity by 40%

We First Conquered Spain…

Now it’s America’s Turn

Our motto has always been “You can’t manage it if you can’t measure it,” and this is a milestone in our record. Based in Spain and growing exponentially, WorkMeter has reached unprecedented levels in increased production: 40%. Quickly gained rise and renown in the corporate world, executives and managers have recorded it increase productivity of their employees by upwards of 30-40%, refuting and outdating the stereotype of an “unproductive Spain”.
For you first time readers who haven’t had a chance to look at it, let me tell you how WorkMeter works. It monitors the time spent on various work-related applications, such as databases, Outlook email, and online sites, then compares it to the time spent on applications and sites not listed as work-related. It then provided the employee and their supervisor access to detailed productivity reports that show them just how productive they’ve been.
As opposed to contemporary methods of productivity reviews, WorkMeter is neither invasive or correctional; it revolves around self employee motivation. It’s a productivity software that displays simple metrics to the workers themselves regarding their activity usage and leaves it up to them to take action, treating the employees as adults responsible for their work instead of children who need constant supervision. This change of attitude from the managers and supervisors has been recorded to effectively and drastically increase productivity in the office, as Spanish companies can now testify.
“As soon as we realize how much time we spend in applications” CEO and founder Joan Pons states, “we realize how to [better manage our time].”
“This program guarantees productivity and allows more flexibility for workers,” he continues to say. This touches on a topic I mentioned a few weeks back: teleworking and workshifting. With 25% of Americans now teleworking, both in the government and private sectors, WorkMeter gives them and the managers access to better time, project, team, and time management which will lead to an increase in employee productivity and motivation. In Spain, the lack of this was a big issue.
“There’s no trust in the employees here…The boss is like the police,” Pons comments. “I think we work more hours because there’s no trust between managers and employees.” It may be different here in America, but in Spain with a typical nine-to-nine work day and the longer siesta, or lunch break, this relationship does nothing to promote the motivation necessary to increase productivity.

“This is why companies both there and here block social sites such as Facebook,” WorkMeter’s Chairman, Andre Angel, explains. “At WorkMeter, we believe companies should allow employees the freedom to use corporate assets for personal use as long as they are given feedback to maintain a responsible balance necessary to meet deadlines and accomplish their objectives.”
With productivity dropping in Europe, WorkMeter was the cheapest and most effective solution they found, increasing Spain companies productivity by upwards of 40%. Similar effects are being seen here in the US, which is why the one-of-a-kind software has been brought over to this side of the world. How much will it change national company productivity? Will its effect be as dramatic and effective as in Spain? Only time will tell, but the numbers never lie.

If you want to see first hand what I’m talking about, see for yourself right here.

May 25, 2012 at 4:30 pm 3 comments

5 Email Habits Your Doctor Will Thank You For

Email: How to Tame the Untamed Beast

It’s your everyday morning: you wake up with the perfect plan for the perfect day, everything laid-out and ready to go. You think to yourself This is the day I’m going to catch-up and relieve myself of all the stress. So you hit off, eat your breakfast, and drive to your typical 9-to-5 office.
Try to convince your boss
that this will increase productivity.
Fast-forward to the end of the day: you just left another heavy project and you’re exhausted. You managed to get a good lead on your load, yet there’s still a long ways to go. But for now, you’re just on your way home, looking forward to that well planned R&R. You walk inside and are just about to heave a sigh of relaxation when suddenly your phone buzzes. You pull it out and it’s Johnson needing some quick help on the Smith report. Ok you think I’ll just get this over with then it’s me time. A couple of hours later and you’ve finished.
You go to the shower, run it on hot, when your phone buzzes again. You look at it and it’s your boss telling you there was an error in your last layout and was wondering if you could come in that weekend. Excellent. Now you have your lost weekend to fret about.
Then your phone buzzes again. And again. And again. It’s like you never left the office.
This is a scenario we’re all familiar with. Yet the University of California in Irvine recently released a study pointing out how poor work habits, particularly relating to email, impact a person’s overall health and productivity in the office. How you managing the main mode of communication in the office is a strong indication of how stressful you allow your life to get. Luckily, there are a few simple habits you can do to help bring that blood pressure down:

1)     Delete (Turn Off) Your Email When You Leave Work

This at home doesn’t increase productivity.
It hurts it.

 This is something most of us can do and that is not to take our work home with us. You work at an 9-to-5 office and it should last just that long: from 9 till 5. During that time, your office life can, and often will, get very stressful, so when it’s time for you to go home, leave it at the door. Same way how you leave your personal life at the door of the office. Your time at home is a time for you to kick back and relax because come the next day, it’ll start all over again and your productivity has to be at it’s best. This is impossible if your phone is buzzing off with emails every hour. The key: turn it off. You don’t need to be checking your email constantly. Whatever comes, you can deal with it tomorrow. This is your R&R, and keeping your mind busy with work 24/7 will only make you worse at it, not better.

2)     Create Priority Alerts

Now there are those of us who’s jobs entail a continuous line to the office and cannot afford the luxury of turning off our emails. In this case, the Priority Alert system is your best friend. What this does is allows you to set an alert that goes off only if an email meets the required priority level, which is in this case “high”. What this will do is any urgent emails you receive that cannot wait until tomorrow will be buzzed to you and the ones that are of lesser importance won’t be. The epitome of time management which takes us directly to our next point.

3)     Don’t Chain Events

Once you take care of that urgent email, you have to resist the urge to look and take care of the rest. Do NOT chain events. Once you start down this road, you won’t finish until it is 4 hours into your home time and you’re productivity and health will take the hit. This crucial time management skill will benefit you in both the long and short run. So stick to that one important email and that one email alone.

4)     Auto-sort: Use It

What’s something that nobody wants
but everybody has?

This is a habit for within the office, as opposed to outside it. Use the auto-sort. Create folders such as “meeting minutes”, “Smith project details”, or “misc.” and set your email to automatically filter them into those folders. What this will do is greatly unclutter your inbox and reduce that awful sinking-in-the-gut feeling when you see torrents of unread emails are awaiting you. By automatically sorting your emails, you can instead visit each folder in turn and deal with their respective emails, thereby boosting your productivity with a time management system.

5)     Learn To Ignore

This is a reiteration of a part of a previous step, but it’s important enough to be reiterated. Learn to ignore some emails. Not permanently, but until it’s time to deal with them. This habit is perfect in and out of the office. If it isn’t urgent and your busy working, then ignore it. Worst comes to worst, they will call you. But in the office, learn to stay focused on the task at hand and out of the office, learn to stay focused on yourself. This is possibly one of the hardest habits for employees to develop.

May 8, 2012 at 8:00 pm

Telework: The Next Stage in Work-Home Lifestyle

What is Teleworking / Workshifting?

            Working shifting, or moving your work from the company office to the comforts of your home, isn’t a new concept. Numerous careers allow employees to work shift and complete their tasks from home. Yet it was never a largely accepted practice. Most of these were cases tied to specific fields, whereas others allowed it in only specific cases, such as illness or overtime. This is no longer the stance. According to Randstad Canada’s latest global Workmonitor survey, “Telework”, or the concept of working from home, has begun to take root as more efficient than its counterpart.

What will Teleworking Do For Me?

The effect of telework is in the numbers
Cited: Telework Research Network

            In the everyday world, the demands of life are often competing with the demands of work. This hurts productivity as people find themselves bouncing from one obligation to another. Employee motivation takes a hit when the stress becomes too great and the limited to non-existent leisure web access, such as social sites or online shopping, doesn’t help either. Employee productivity follows suit not long after. According to Stacy Parker, Executive Vice President of Marketing at Randstad Canada, this makes a good work life balance one of the premium qualities employees look for in their employers. Telework provides this solution and eliminates the problem by allowing them to easily manage both variants of tasks and maintain a healthier work-life balance. Beginning in Canada and rapidly moving to and from Southern California, telework is being utilized to give employees the ability to control their lives and stay motivated.

How Can I Make Sure It’s Working?

Not just the employees will benefit from work shifting
Cited: Telework Research Network

Some employers might wonder “Well if they are working from home, how can I make sure they’re being productive?” This is easily solved with SaaS (Software as a Service) tools such as WorkMeter that become cruxes in the telework community by allowing both the employer and the employee themselves to see their productivity levels. By workshifting and teleworking from the company’s computer, employees get the benefit of managing both lives in a healthy manner, employers get the benefit of a productivity increase, and both benefit by seeing an increase in company success.

There’s a reason teleworking is becoming a trend.
Relevant articles

April 19, 2012 at 6:34 pm 2 comments

Andre Angel, CBS with Doug McElvein

Improving Time Management On The Company Clock

A couple of weeks ago, our very own Andre Angel spoke on CBS regarding the productivity habits of employees and how the monitoring culture of employers is changing with the times. On the show, Total Information AM, he was interviewed by Doug McElvein in regards to the dangers conventional employee  productivity methods possess in todays day and age.

Join us in listening below.

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Angel lays out the groundwork, explaining how the existence of four generations in the work place makes banning and blocking sites downright harmful rather than helpful to the company, who instead should utilize cooperative means to increase productivity. With 56% of college graduates saying they would not work for a company that banned social sites, Angel gives light to a global software called “WorkMeter,” currently in use by over 1,000 companies worldwide, that solves the issue of time wasting through self-motivation and self-correction.

April 17, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Internet Freedom of the New Generation

Social Media: More Important Than You'd Think
Social Media
More important than you’d think.

The world is changing; specifically, working world. Steadily and no longer slowly, old mentalities are being replaced as new and fresh ideas and ideals are brought in through younger generations. From the world beyond the four-wall-cubicle, thoughts and expectations of freedom are being fought for. Now, that focus of freedom has seeped in from the cracks in the walls and has arrived at the working world with an entourage of young professionals and recent graduates.

 The Freedom Demands of the Employees
A report entitled Cisco Connected World Technology Report was published in 2011 by Cisco depicting the growing trend in the importance of internet freedom and social media. Done on 2,800 college students in the United Kingdom, all were asked on the importance of internet freedom and social media in comparison to salary.

933 believed having internet freedom and access to sites such as Facebook and Twitter was as “important as air, water, food, and shelter,” indicating a critical factor in employee motivation.

1,120 stated that they would accept lower-paying jobs that allowed them their freedom to social media and from internet blocks over a higher paying job that restricted them.

1,960 acknowledged to breaking IT policy on a regular basis by attempting (and even succeeding) at bypassing security measures meant to restrict their online access.

This new wave of future employees are emerging like a grass-root movement, refusing positions that don’t meet their freedom requirements and setting a new bar in employee-employer social media relations. This growing trend is something that old employers are having trouble adapting to.

The Productivity Fears of the Employers

If you’ve been keeping up with us, you know very well that maintaining and increasing productivity is always high on the employers list. So, naturally, when they see demands for increasing internet freedoms, they usually provoke thoughts of “Well why do you want more access” and “Are you going to be wasting time surfing the web as opposed to working?” But it doesn’t have to be that way.

This increased trend of internet freedom doesn’t come from the slackers; it comes from the motivators. They don’t see it as a sink hole to waste company time and money, but instead as a tool to pause and recharge their batteries. Job motivation is a large factor in productivity and if granting access to Twitter allows them to return to work refreshed, then so be it. In the end, the problem for the employers should be the websites themselves, but the time management of the employees.

The Middle Ground

Effective time management is where both the employers and employees must meet; granting access with the assurance that it won’t be abused. Here, conventional software and productivity monitoring programs don’t work since they focus on preventative measure, as opposed to motivational goals. They snoop and locate sites that employees spend a large amount of time on and place a website block, preventing future access.

New productivity software, such as WorkMeter, which has grown rapidly in Spain’s industry, take on a different approach. They work by monitoring application usage on productive and unproductive applications, then displaying the activity graphs to the employer AND the employee. This grants the future hires the internet freedom they wish all the while letting their employers unintrusively see the levels of their productivity. 

The college students are growing from pre-graduates to post-graduates and in no time, they will take over the workforce. The advancement of company productivity depends on who will gain them by deciding to take the first step in workplace freedom and embrace this new method of improving productivity.

April 9, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Productivity tips

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