Here’s a look at three interesting stories currently in the news with ramifications for your team’s productivity. As many of us are coming back from a long weekend, you may be looking to get a jump on the week ahead (see yesterday’s post by Anita on the results of a year-long productivity study that may help).
1. Why your new productivity system might not stick
If you’ve found that it’s tough to stick with new productivity systems over the long-run (as opposed to being vigilant for a week or two and then returning to your old habits), you’ll be interested in this piece from the Harvard Business Review. Maura Thomas and Shawn Thomas write that when it comes to trying to make productivity efforts stick, people tend to fall off the wagon because (1) they remain convinced that their old habits are necessary for success, (2) they work in an environment that’s unsupportive of the habits they’re trying to instill in themselves (noting, for example, that “the average professional is so steeped in distractions all day long that having an opportunity to focus starts to feel weird”), and/or (3) stress makes them overthink what they’re doing, and the resulting pressure and second-guessing makes them choke.
2. Businesses with flex time and telecommuting say it’s helped their productivity
The majority of businesses that allow employees to work flexible schedules or work from home say that doing so has increased their profits and productivity, according to a new survey from Vodaphone. It found that 75% of employers have now introduced some kind of flexible policy for workers, and of those, 61% said profits had increased, 83% said they had seen an improvement in productivity, and 57% said that adopting flexible working policies had helped their reputation. Of the companies that said they hadn’t introduced this sort of flexibility, 33% said that it wouldn’t fit their culture, 30% worried about tension between flexible workers and office workers would not get along, 25% worried about fair distribution of work, and 22% believed workers wouldn’t work as hard.
3. What’s your biological prime time?
Do you know when your “biological prime time” is? And do you structure your work schedule to play to it? The idea behind biological prime time is that there’s a time of the day when you have the most energy, and that you’ll get more done if you schedule your most important work accordingly. “In other words,” writes Shana Lebowitz in Business Insider, “if you know that you typically have trouble focusing between 3 and 4 p.m. … there’s little point trying to force yourself to work on a project report during that time. Instead, you might want to do a relatively easy task, like checking email.”
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