Over the past few years, employees and employers alike have developed an obsession with productivity. Employers worry that employees slack off at home, and employees look for ways to look busy, even when they have exceeded their productivity goals. Meanwhile, companies are also reporting record profits compared to previous years. Profit margins have not soared this high since the 1950s. So, what can employers do to end this paranoia?
Understand Productivity Paranoia
Microsoft reportedly coined the term productivity paranoia in one of its many reports on hybrid workforce and a changing economy. It describes the obsession bosses tend to have with tracking productivity and their suspicions that employees are not as productive when working remotely as in the office. Desperation to alleviate this paranoia is why employees worldwide work harder, often wasting time on "busy work" after completing tasks ahead of schedule.
One Inc. Magazine article reported that remote workers waste over an hour each day trying to appear industrious. Workers fear that failure to do so could cause employers to think they are doing nothing at all at home. Ironically, this only harms long-term productivity goals and flexibility. Imagine how much money companies could save on labor hours if productivity paranoia did not encourage workers to do this.
Reexamine How You Measure Productivity
Companies should use hard numbers to measure productivity whenever possible. Suitable metrics vary across industries and job functions. Here are some examples:
- Number of sales the sales team generates
- Percentage of satisfied customers that the customer service team serves
- Percentage of products that the manufacturing team completes
- Effectiveness of the marketing team's campaigns
- Percentage of invoices paid on time for the accounts receivable team
Using metrics such as these reduces the risk of relying on outdated and inefficient measures. Such outdated measures include how long a person spends on a document, how many meetings a worker has intended and willingness to work overtime hours. These are not accurate representations of productivity.
Acknowledge the Importance of Work-Life Balance
Organizations that respect the need for work-life balance have happier employees. These workers are less likely to complain about feeling overworked and more likely to stay with a company long-term. Employers who understand this can still be strict about worker productivity without driving away their best employees.
Create a culture of accountability in the workplace by holding individuals responsible for their own results instead of relying on managers to monitor every detail. This alternative to productivity paranoia empowers people. It also helps companies save money by decreasing oversight costs and avoiding reduced satisfaction levels among employees who feel micromanaged.
Provide Tools To Encourage Well-Being at Work
Microsoft has launched several tools with this goal in mind. For example, Viva focuses on strengthening connections and encouraging well-being. Insights, one of its key offerings, helps employees balance work goals with well-timed breaks. It also provides tracking tools that managers can use to review the collective productivity of the team.
Apps can certainly help point workers in the right direction, but employers can extend support beyond this. For example, companies that offer or fund mental health services see great retention rates. One Harvard Business Review article reports that 81% of Gen Zers and 68% of Millennials have left job roles for mental health reasons.
Explain Why Productivity Matters
Ensure your employees understand how important productivity is to your organization's success. Give them examples of how production drives profits. Advise them on improving productivity by utilizing team-building exercises and setting measurable goals. Finally, work on establishing a positive workplace culture where productivity paranoia cannot thrive.
In the end, helping employees understand what makes an effective worker will help employers overcome their paranoia about employee productivity levels. Remember that your people are your most valuable asset, and it's in everyone's best interest to keep morale high through open communication and flexible work schedules.
Provide More Flexible Work Schedules and Mean It
Many employers are hesitant to offer flexible work schedules due to productivity concerns. However, this can boost productivity in the long term by improving employee satisfaction and reducing burnout. Some companies offer flexible work schedules on paper but show hostility or resistance when employees attempt to exercise that flexibility.
Here are some of the ways employers can help reduce that hostility and facilitate effectively self-determined schedules:
- Allow hybrid workers to determine what days to come into the office
- Provide work schedule ranges for workers on mandatory days (for example, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. vs. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
- Consider focusing on overlapping hours instead of exact work hours when teams must collaborate and share schedules
- Focus on the work completed and not on when it gets done
- Automate the transcription of meetings so that workers can catch up without attending
- Train managers to respect work flexibility and reprimand managers who create hostility
Leverage Technology To Alleviate Productivity Paranoia
A paranoiac obsession with productivity is a growing concern for employers and employees. Technology can complement some of the aforementioned solutions in several ways. It can automate key metrics calculations and provide employees with basic mental health tools, such as Viva. Technology can also take over some of the busy work employees continue to waste their time on as part of their productivity theater.
Accessing these and other technical tools generally requires cloud migration. Cloudficient has helped large companies with 5,000 and more end users upgrade to the cloud so they can recreate a hybrid and remote workforce that does away with productivity paranoia and paves the way for efficient operations. Contact usto learn more.
With unmatched next generation migration technology, Cloudficient is revolutionizing the way businesses retire legacy systems and transform their organization into the cloud. Our business constantly remains focused on client needs and creating product offerings that match them. We provide affordable services that are scalable, fast and seamless.
If you would like to learn more about how to bring Cloudficiency to your migration project, visit our website, or contact us.