The trend toward increased worker autonomy is a challenge to traditional management techniques. But a simple workstyle-test can help you adapt your management style to get the most from your autonomous workers.
Autonomy in the workplace has been “the next big thing” for quite a while now.
By giving employees more flexibility in how they perform their jobs, autonomy holds vast potential to boost worker satisfaction and help companies earn big productivity gains.
New research show us how to eliminate conflicts and increase productivity in the workplace. The key is understanding the different types of employee workstyles in the office to build trust and respect.
Have you ever wondered why some workers show up at the office promptly at 7 a.m., while others shuffle in at 9 every day?
Or why some are quick to organize a meeting when others prefer to resolve the issue with just an email or two? Continue reading →
Today, I had a confetti day: this means that I had to spend the night in my kitchen, doing the things I was supposed to do during my workday – meaning earlier today. Confetti days are days where you are constantly interrupted with minor or major issues which were not on your original to-do list, making it impossible for you to complete even the smallest of task. It rips your day into little pieces and ensures that your program at close of business is roughly the same as it was at the start of the day. We all have those days, and it seems to be my turn today.
Confetti days are part of the modern workplace. According to a study carried out at the University of California, office workers in the study were, at one point or another, interrupted roughly every ten minutes by colleagues, their smart phone, or e-mails. While not every distraction may throw you off course, there is a great deal of distraction to take into account, and some of it is bound to pull you away from what you were doing. Once thrown off track, it can take as much as 23 minutes for you to return to the original task, i.e., if you even succeed in getting back to the original task.
According to the study, the average interruption lasts approximately five minutes. Whether or not it takes you 23 minutes or more to get back to what you were doing, it adds up to many hours lost. It is frustrating for the individual interrupted, but also costs the business a considerable amount of money and lost opportunities. I think we can do better than that.
1. Tell people in your physical space
Simply telling people in your physical space that you are busy or need to concentrate will help some. Only rarely will people intentionally interrupt you if you have told them you are under pressure to perform. Actually, your co-workers will go a long way to protect you from interruptions and shield you from outsiders by taking care of questions and issues themselves.
2. Set presence indicator on “busy”
This is a no-brainer, but few of us do it. On your UC client: Lync, Jabber, etc., you can place a “don’t disturb” or “busy” tag to your status indicator. This means that your colleagues who are about to send you a message are warned not to. Since no one wants to be intentionally rude, they will often wait or send you an e-mail if it is urgent.
3. Get some music going
This one’s my personal favorite. I’ve written before about how the right music can really help you focus. On top of that, it masks some of the office noise around you. This works even better when combined with a noise-cancelling headset like the Jabra Evolve. I promise I’m not saying this just because Jabra pays my bills. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt the need to slap on my trusty Jabra Evolve 80 and drown out the noise with some sweet Spotify tracks.
In fact, I wrote most of this very post while soothing tunes from Morcheeba washed gently over my ears. True story.
4. Don’t pick up the phone
I actually got this tip from my IT guy, who handles much of his work on the go. He says that 90% of questions solve themselves if the person asking the question is forced to leave a message. Thirty percent of all interruptions are questions from co-workers – at least some of them should be able to wait an hour or two. While this may not be the case for you or me, not feeling like you have to take every call is a good strategy when you have to get things done without interruptions.
5. Go somewhere else
Not being there to get interrupted is also effective. Finding a conference room or working at home, if possible, will save you from much distraction. This, however, is not always possible, as you sometimes need your workstation or just the feel of your desk to make you productive.
Unfortunately, confetti days are here to stay – they are a fact of the modern workplace. You can avoid much distraction by making use of some simple tips and tricks. However, if all else fails, you need to do what I will be doing in a minute: wait for the house to get quiet and then work from the kitchen counter.
Most of us are good at our job. But how do we know, if we are as good as we could be? Well, in my experience, if you want to perform at your best, first you need to understand your own work behavior and build on that. Maybe you are the Guardian at work or the Game Changer. Perhaps the Genius or even the Guru. One thing is for sure: you have potential. Now let us find out what it is!
Ideally, every day and every assignment should be fun and thrilling. But, as we all know; some days are harder than others. However, if you feel, that things could be more fun and much less challenging than they are. Then perhaps you stuck in a way of working, which does not make the most of your abilities – and your capabilities. Which means you have probably not yet realized your full potential. Continue reading →
Knowledge workers spend 28 hours a week answering e-mails or looking for information. But research shows that there are better and faster ways of generating your business results. It’s time to dismantle the hamster wheel, stop hiding behind our screens, and start having meaningful conversations instead.
My company, just like most others, spends a great deal of time on e-mails. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, the average knowledge worker spends a whopping 28 hours e-mailing, requesting and sending information back and forth. I personally receive well over 200 e-mails a day and often have to spend my evenings answering them all, in order to be able to get my other work done when I’m back in the office.I guess that the lyrics of traditional boy/girl break-up love songs seldom have much to offer in solving today’s management challenges. But just the other day, Cliff Richard’s old hit “We don’t talk anymore” was playing on my car radio, and it got me thinking.
Maybe they aren’t able to leap tall buildings with a single bound, but knowledge workers are the real-life superheroes in our organizations. Let’s go behind the mask and see what makes them so indispensable to our success.
What’s the most important position in your organization? Easy, right? The CEO. Or CFO. Or maybe chief product engineer.
They’re all critical, I’ll admit. But in my book, the heroes of every organization are its knowledge workers.
They’re the essence of our organizations. They do the heavy lifting that keeps the products flowing, customers happy, financials in order, patents in force and a whole lot more. Or as the old saying goes, they “keep the trains running on time.” Continue reading →
Our organizations are awash in information. But it seems as though we’re just filing it away – instead of using it to create and share knowledge.
I just took a long, accidental stroll down memory lane, courtesy of one of my company’s file servers.
Let me explain. I needed a very specific report and accessed one of our internal systems to locate it. After a few minutes of searching, I was certain I’d found the report… until I discovered another, different version of it. And then another. And yet another.
After an hour of looking, I gave up. I never found what I needed.
All of which led me to a realization: We obviously do a great job of churning out information in our organizations, but are we creating knowledge? Continue reading →
Plenty of organizations are looking for ways to help employees become more engaged, inspired and innovative. Ride with me as I trace the roots of employee disengagement and search for practical solutions, including changing the way we organize work in the knowledge economy.
Ever wonder how we got here?
Not to this point in the history of civilization. Rather, how we got to a place where 70% of knowledge workers admit to being disengaged from their jobs? And, equally important, how can we overcome it? Continue reading →
How you “nudge” people into using technology that will make your company – and employees – more productive.
It’s the business case of the century: implementing Unified Communication & Collaboration solutions that make it possible for employees to communicate, share ideas, and work from anywhere. From one day to the next, all of your employees are accessible and fully “operational,” freeing up time and offering opportunities to boost productivity, innovation, and value creation.
It’s the perfect match.
The money side is exceptionally encouraging as well. According to studies from Cisco, Avaya, and the like, payback periods are less than a year, return on investments are higher than 100 percent in a few years, and 74 percent of companies report an additional $5,000 or more in extra sales per month per sales agent. It’s a sure home run. Continue reading →
Some of the biggest blunders in history – both corporate and otherwise – can be attributed to the concept of groupthink. Along with new research on the topic come practical new tips for keeping it out of your decision making processes.
Have you ever run across a corporate decision that seemed so mind-boggling that you shook your head and wondered, “What were they thinking?”