Are you working as hard as you can at building your business? Does it seem that you aren’t getting a reasonable return on that investment of time and work? Your business might be suffering from performance killers: subtle dissonances that affect productivity in your workforce – and you might be working too hard to spot them. Here is a run-down of the three worst offenders:
At first glance, this seems to show dedication and effort on the part of your workers. They are at work all the time: they show up early, eat at their desks and leave late. Surely that’s a good thing? Not necessarily. It depends on their reasons for being at work so much. If they are genuinely working every minute, putting in ten hours of work when they are only contracted to seven or eight, consider whether you are asking too much of them and whether additional support should be provided. However, for the most part, people who demonstrate presenteeism actually end up doing less work than they should. When you look more closely, you often find that those that work the longest hours are less productive than those that take regular breaks and work more reasonable hours.
Recent studies have shown that performance is boosted by shortening the working week: employees know they do not have a long time to while away, so they work harder for shorter periods of time – and then they benefit from a three-day weekend. This research is supported by the three most productive countries in the world, Luxemburg, Norway and Switzerland, all of whom have working weeks of 30 hours or less.
Meetings can be a dreadful waste of time. Research shows that 50% of the time spent in meetings is unnecessary, and they are costing UK business billions of pounds. While they are a valuable tool, they should only be used when necessary to achieve the objective at hand, run efficiently, and they should always have an agenda. Only invite the people who need to be involved in the discussion (you can still maintain an open-door policy by having the minutes ciruclated for other employees to read through).
Encourage attendees to prepare in advance, arrive on time and be concise when delivering feedback or progress reports. Stick to the meeting agenda and “park” any off-topic discussions. Consider leaving mobile phones at the door. Research shows that companies that are adopting this policy are having shorter and more productive meetings.
Having an open-plan office can seem more cost-effective and inclusive. However, it creates a myriad of distractions: multiple phones ringing, colleague chatting, printers whirring, to name but a few. Some employees can find all the noise incredible distracting causing a dip in their productivity.
Consider how you can help employees to reduce these distractions, especially when working on detailed or complex tasks. Solutions include opting for semi-private cubicles, allowing employees to work from home or working in quiet areas such as a meeting room for part of the day.
Worried that this may reduce collaboration between colleagues? Don’t. A recent Harvard study looked at two Fortune 500 companies who made the move to open-plan working and the results were very surprising. The research showed that once the companies moved to open-plan working face to face time reduced by 70% and the use of email increased between 22% and 50%.
These are just three of the worst performance killers but there are many more. They often unnoticed until substantial damage has been done, negatively impacting the growth of your business.
To find out more ways to boost productivity and employee performance, contact us today?