A key secret to having a successful organization is to have a well-aligned and productive team supported by the overall company regulations and culture. Positive company culture is linked to numerous favorable outcomes like increased innovation, better employee retention, and even an advantage in marketing.
But, one of the essential benefits of solid company culture is its impact on employees' performance, as it leads to happier employees, who prove to be more efficient. When the company has a solid culture, employees know how their management wants them to work, and the employees know they will be rewarded for their productive work. Thus, they do their best no matter what.
A recent study of strong and weak company cultures shows that the productivity boost is likely due to employee motivation, which increases significantly in companies where employees’ basic needs are met through a strong culture. However, in a race for the most productive and efficient employee, employers often promote false values from their cultures.
Here are top misconceptions about employees' productivity which are often placed among the priorities supported by the company culture. Unfortunately, their efficiency has not been proved by experience.
Myth 1: Multitasking is a Synonym for Productivity
Multitasking has been praised and admired as a strategy to get multiple things done at once. It turns out that doing multiple tasks simultaneously actually slows us down and increases the number of mistakes we make, as only 2.5% of people are able to multitask effectively.
Some studies show that multitaskers often have poorer memory, often ignore minor matters, and fail to filter information according to what is relevant to a particular goal. Therefore, they're slowed down by a bunch of unrelated information. Multitaskers are also shown to have a hard time switching from one task to another.
Another compelling reason to kick the destructive habit of multitasking is the potential for brain damage. Long-term multitaskers have reduced brain density in an area associated with empathy and emotional and cognitive control.
Tip: Doing multiple tasks simultaneously leads to poor outcomes and, as a result, more fixes and improvements. It's better to focus on priorities and implement the assigned tasks in turn for the best performance.
Myth 2: All Employees Can Be Equally Productive
People like to categorize those around them. However, all people have a mixture of different qualities and manifest their strengths in different ways. In fact, the average employee is only productive for 2 hours and 53 minutes per day.
It's true that those who are called "integrators" are generally good at forming relationships. They are more empathic and easy to communicate with. However, the so-called "pioneers" can also inspire others to great achievements. And this is an invaluable type of relationship.
We're all different in our professional and personal qualities. Logically, one particular mode of increasing productivity will not always work for all of your employees.
Tip: Consider making a personality assessment test and a talent assessment part of your recruitment or onboarding process. Find what works best for your employees. Even if it takes a lot of time to search and experiment, it will become an investment in the future.
Myth 3: Employees Can Stay Productive Forever
Toxic productivity is a direct path to emotional exhaustion, professional burnout, and chronic fatigue. Productive work requires quality rest. The opposite effect is triggered when employees deprive themselves of rest and cannot disconnect from work tasks. At a certain point, strength ends. Thus, 41% of stressed employees state that stress negatively affects their productivity.
Besides, focusing on productivity can shift the focus and distract from the content of the work: tasks begin to be completed without proper reflection for the sake of a “tick” and to get more done.
Tip: To assure long-term productivity for your employees, take care of their good rest. Your employees’ wellness and emotional balance are directly related to your business success. Thus, your company culture should promote quality time spent out of daily routine and business tasks.
Myth 4: Productive Employees Always Follow The Rules
Proper planning with prioritization is necessary, but at the same time, your employees must remain flexible and be ready to adjust the plan. Sometimes, employees tend to be so dependent on the plan that any minor change can stress them out and break the process.
To prevent force majeure from stressing them out, they need to gradually learn how to assess unexpected situations with the help of the following questions:
- What exactly happened, and what are the possible causes?
- How does this affect work or you at the moment?
- Does the problem require immediate action?
- Do you need help?
Answering these questions brings an understanding of the situation and reduces unexpected stress. Right after that, the employees gat capable of proceeding to plan and (if necessary) adjust actions at a minimum or no harm to their performance.
Tip: Set priorities and clear expectations for your employees, and don't make them waste time on activities that take you further from your goal.
Myth 5: Productivity Is About Always Being Busy
When your employees are constantly busy with something, there's an illusion that they're very productive and in control of their time. If they proudly check off some completed tasks in their checklist, this does not mean that they are productive indeed.
If this list is filled with unimportant and non-urgent tasks that can be delegated or not done at all, then this cannot be called productivity. Moreover, engaging in trivial tasks is a major sign of procrastination and loss of productivity.
Furthermore, to maximize their business, some employees tend to aim for simple, achievable tasks instead of solving some complex problems and seeking more. Thus, the overall success of your business suffers.
Tip: Teach your team to prioritize tasks and do the really important things first. Do a simple exercise together, write down how many minutes or hours it took to complete a particular task for several days, and record what distracted you. See which of these tasks were of lower priority but took a lot of time and which ones you didn’t manage to complete.
Myth 6: Work From Office is more productive
Due to the actual challenges of the present, along with remote work, a hybrid working model was introduced to the wider public. At the same time, some people stick to the point that only working from the office can be efficient. Thus, working away from the office proves to increase employee productivity and positively impact work-life balance.
Many office workers prefer a mix of remote and office environments. Hybrid work gives people more flexibility. It also strikes a healthy balance of collaboration and quiet operation, the latter often hampered by the noise of an open office. According to Buffer, 84% of remote workers prefer working from home.
Meanwhile, background noise, commonly found in coffee shops and other public places, is good for creativity and helps some employees focus. However, the level of appropriate background noise varies from person to person, which may be due to whether you are an extrovert or an introvert.
Tip: It all depends on personal preferences and how they work best. Does an employee prefer remote work or office work, or a hybrid model? Being a manager, it's up to you to decide whether such work modes fit your niche. If yes, why not give it a shot.
Myth 7: Working under pressure increases productivity
"I work better under pressure" is a popular misconception that people tend to instill in themselves while being used to procrastinating things. They use it as an excuse, but these people often confuse stress with adrenaline.
If employees are used to doing work at the last moment, they often think they work better under pressure. But the truth is that when time is running out and there is no choice, people simply have to kick themselves. Otherwise, they will fly in.
Besides, if talking about really stressful situations, according to some research 41% of workers said stress made them less productive, 33% said it made them less engaged, and 15% admitted to looking for a new job because of stress.
Tip: Sometimes, it's perfectly fine to leave some last piece of work for the last minute, but not the whole project. Promote breaking the task into several small parts, setting preliminary deadlines for each. Be sure to calculate some additional time for each task for employees not to feel pressure but still be organized.
Looking back at the myths and truths about productivity in this article, there is one thing in common almost everywhere — there is no universal productivity strategy.
Undoubtedly, many suggestions can help you to organize your teamwork, make them concentrate, be more efficient, and get more work done. But the best thing you can do to improve your team productivity is to know your employees` preferences for work environments, schedules, etc.
Are your team members early birds or night owls, extroverts, or introverts? Are your work tasks more individual or collaborative? Consider these and other aspects of your team members' personalities and work to find the most appropriate ways to increase their productivity.