Here’s a look at three interesting stories currently in the news with ramifications for your team’s productivity.
1. Data says you should take a vacation
You might assume that the more you work, the more successful you might become. But new research from Project: Time Off says that in reality that’s not how it plays out. Their study found that people who took fewer than 10 of their vacation days each year had a 35% likelihood of receiving a raise or bonus in a three-year period of time … but people who took more than 10 of their vacation days had a 65% chance of receiving a raise or bonus. In other words, if you take 11 or more of your vacation days, you're over 30% more likely to receive a raise than people who don’t. A Harvard Business Review piece on the findings attribute it to the fact that your brain and body need recovery periods to continue performing at a high level.
2. How to beat procrastination
Our brains are programmed to procrastinate, argues Caroline Webb in HBR. “We all tend to struggle with tasks that promise future upside in return for efforts we take now,” she writes. “The short-term effort easily dominates the long-term upside in our minds—an example of something that behavioral scientists call present bias.” That means that to fight procrastination, it helps to change the cost-benefit analysis, by making the benefits of taking action now feel bigger and making the costs of that action feel smaller. To make the benefits feel bigger, Webb suggests strategies like visualizing what it will feel like to get the task done; publicly committing to completing it, since you’ll want to be respected by others; and forcing yourself to think about the downside of delaying the work (like that you’ll miss the chance for input from others). To make the costs of action feel smaller, Webb suggests breaking the work down into smaller portions that don’t feel as onerous, rewarding yourself for taking the first step, and identifying and removing any hidden blocks that keep you from taking action.
3. Will the Olympics tank your team’s productivity?
With the Olympics airing this month, you may want to know that more than 55 million employed Americans say that they’d plan an Olympic event live if it aired during work hours, according to a new survey from Harris Poll2. What’s more, nearly one in five say they’d make up an excuse to leave work early, come in late, or call in sick, and one-third would stream the event while they work. (Most popular? Basketball, gymnastics, and swimming.) In fact, Olympics excitement may cost employers an estimated $5.4 billion, according to marketing and advertising firm Captivate (up from the $1 billion associated with the 2012 Summer Olympics). Given the excitement surrounding the games, some are even suggesting that employers simply televise the Olympics in the office so that workers don’t need to keep checking their phones or the Internet for updates.