Hiring top talent is an important aspect of cultivating a great company, but it's also only the beginning of a truly productive office. Even the best candidates may struggle with productivity, engagement and motivation, especially over a long period of time, and that can negatively impact everything from the bottom line to your willingness to stay there.
The good news is that while dips in productivity and engagement are facts of life, they don't have to be insurmountable obstacles. In fact, there are several tips, tricks and office hacks you can employ to boost productivity without having to resort to extreme measures. Here are a few ways you can encourage higher engagement in yourself and your coworkers.
You may be pleasantly surprised to know that many productivity-boosting tips can be carried out on an individual level by your employees. Rather than constructing costly and time-consuming training seminars on how to work as effectively as possible, you may wish to consider implementing a few slight behavioral changes or shifts in mindset.
One key skill Inc. magazine highlighted was mindfulness. This is the practice of letting yourself be consciously aware of where you are and what you're doing. It sounds like a simple thing, but when you consider how much of our days - especially at the office - are run essentially on autopilot, you may be surprised to learn just how much of a difference it can make.
Wait a minute - isn't multitasking a thing that employers want their staff members to do? After all, many job postings cite multitasking ability as a required skill. As it turns out, emphasizing doing more than one thing at once may be setting you up for failure.
We've all done it - talking on the phone while checking emails, responding to a meeting invitation while putting the finishing touches on that report. We think we're being efficient, but in reality, the opposite is true. Shockingly, the human brain isn't actually capable of true multitasking - that is, performing more than one thing at a time. However, we think it is because we are capable of switching between tasks very quickly - sometimes as fast as one-tenth of a second, according to CNN.
But just because you can jump around from task to task doesn't mean that's the most effective way, or even recommended. As MIT neuroscientist Earl Miller told the Guardian, every time you switch tasks, you're compromising your cognitive ability, meaning that you're performing each subsequent job less effectively than the last. What's more, multitasking has been associated with higher instances of the stress hormone cortisol. This means that multitasking doesn't just make you feel more stressed - it's actually putting more stress on your body and brain.
"Staying connected to the office all the time may actually make you sick."
Smartphones and tablets have undeniably revolutionized the way businesses operate over the past 10 years or so. With the Internet in the pocket of the majority of working adults, the line between the office and home is quickly blurring or, in some cases, disappearing altogether.
Some businesses even provide their employees with company-issued smartphones, which many workers see as a perk. In reality, the opposite is true. Connecting to your office via smartphone or tablet is akin to telling your boss that you're on call 24/7. Expectations for replying to emails or handling specific tasks can become less forgiving, since employers understand that staff members are perpetually connected.
It should go without saying that this can wreak havoc on work-life balance. This isn't simply an issue of employee comfort or happiness - overworking, even digitally, can lead to decreased engagement and even higher absenteeism due to illness. That's right - staying connected to the office all the time may actually make you sick. In fact, a recent study by Harvard Business School and Stanford University researchers concluded that workplace stress could be as detrimental to your health as secondhand smoke.
Every employer wants a staff that is dedicated and responsive, but it's important to balance the needs of the company with the considerations and limitations that affect the office. After all, trying to leech out that extra hour of work in the evening today may simply contribute to burnout sooner, which can have a much more drastic effect on productivity than if you simply signed off for the evening.
This content is brought to you by the Marketing Team at Beacon Hill Staffing Group.