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
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.
#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.
#3 Working Longer Does (Not) Increase 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
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 workmeter
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 workmeter
A few weeks ago, you’ll remember we spoke about the relatively new phenomenon that has hit North America, teleworking. If this is your first time reading, telework is the practice of working remotely from home, as opposed to from a corporate office or cubical. The benefits of this are quite astounding, ranging from more raising employee motivation and increasing productivity to saving the company millions in expenses. You can read more about it in our previous post here.
Jumping on the Telework Bandwagon
|Teleworking like the best of us
You would have expected other companies to have been the first to embrace this new method of work. Maybe one here and one there, first testing the waters to see how well it would work in the general system. But believe it or not, it wasn’t businesses who took to it: it was the government. Already passed by the US Senate, the US House of Representatives accepted and passed it with a vote of 254 to 152, allowing a much greater number of government employees to telework. The legislation creates a policy framework and set of procedures in order to begin teleworking, as opposed to prior, where teleworking was something difficult and near impossible to achieve, causing less than 10% of the employees to participate. Yet just from these low numbers, the Office of Personnel Management estimated it saved roughly $30 million a day on expenses. Not only that, but the Parent and Trademark office estimated they too were able to save $1.5 million a year through avoided rent expenses.
How Does It Work?
What the bill does is have government agencies decide which employees are eligible for telework. Those who are eligible would be required to complete training programs before signing telework agreements with the agency. As well, much like a company, not all government employees would be eligible for telework, for obvious reasons. The restrictions that limit those who can participate in teleworking are comprised of 3 simple rules: those who have been officially disciplined for “being absent without permission for more than 5 days in any calendar year”, those who have been officially disciplined for “viewing, downloading, or exchanging pornography…on a Federal Government computer”, and, for obvious reasons, those whose job requires an on-site presence to accomplish, such as law enforcement officers, park rangers, air traffic controllers, etc.
Only a Matter of Time
When the government has acted before the companies, you know somebody is behind. Companies are still slowly getting into the business of having their employees telework for fears of loss of productivity, despite the numbers to prove otherwise. Still remaining in an old train of thought, they believe that the best work is office work and work from home is simply unproductive work. So they turn to software such as WorkMeter, that allows them to monitor their employee’s productivity and gives them a chance to see with their own eyes just how effective teleworking is.
May 1, 2012 at 6:56 pm workmeter
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 workmeter
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.
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 workmeter