1. Collaborative overload
Work time spent in collaborative activities has increased by 50% or more over the last two decades, but new research shows that the distribution of this work is lopsided: 20% to 35% of collaborations come from only 3% to 5% of employees. That’s because “as people become known for being both capable and willing to help, they are drawn into projects and roles of growing importance. Their giving mindset and desire to help others quickly enhances their performance and reputation,” which further increases the demands upon them. Then, “what starts as a virtuous cycle soon turns vicious. Soon helpful employees become institutional bottlenecks: Work doesn’t progress until they’ve weighed in. Worse, they are so overtaxed that they’re no longer personally effective. And more often than not, the volume and diversity of work they do to benefit others goes unnoticed, because the requests are coming from other units, varied offices, or even multiple companies.”
The study authors suggest that leaders streamline and redistribute responsibilities for collaboration and spot and reward effective collaborators differently.
2. What are the biggest workplace distractions?
If you think that social media, texting, and other forms of modern technology have outpaced old-school distractions as the biggest productivity killers at work, think again!
More traditional distractions, like breaks at the water cooler or chit-chat with colleagues, still hold the top spots among time-consuming diversions, according to a new study from BambooHR. Their poll found the biggest time consumer is taking breaks in the kitchen or at the water cooler, followed by trips to the bathroom and chatting with coworkers. (However, using email, text, or social media does come in fourth, with online personal errands coming in fifth.) Interesting, more upper management employees spend 30 minutes or more each day taking trips to the water cooler or break room than lower management employees, and they spend 30 minutes or more each day talking to friends than lower management employees.
None of that is to say that these activities are inherently a bad thing, though; in moderation, they can refresh and recharge people and ultimately make them more productive in the long-term.
3. The Exact Cost of a Toxic Employee
Ever wonder exactly how damaging that toxic coworker might be to your company? According to a new Harvard Business School paper, removing toxic workers – employees who bully, harass, or otherwise harm a company – delivers twice the value to a company that hiring a superstar performer does. Toxic employees diminish everyone’s productivity, and they drive other employees to leave a company faster and more frequently, which creates turnover and training costs. A worker in the top 1 percent might return $5,303 in cost savings to a company through increased output, says the research, but avoiding a toxic hire will net an estimated $12,489.