Team Productivity – What You Need to Know This Week

Nov 17, 2015
4 Min Read

Here’s a look at three interesting stories currently in the news with ramifications for your team’s productivity.

1. How is Zappos’ manager-free model working out?

Remember when Zappos made waves a little more than a year ago by announcing it was switching to “holacracy” – a manager-free model without concrete job descriptions, where self-arranged teams would govern themselves? This Entrepreneur piece takes a look at some of the problems with the model, including not having clear decision-makers when it comes time for tough decisions like cutting expenses or laying people off; not having managers to deal with employees who choose to slack off; and not adapting well to businesses with distant offices and satellite branches.

2. Everything you know about productivity might be wrong

If productivity experts have convinced you that the way to keep your in-box manageable is to handle all emails as they come in and to jump on tasks as quickly as you can, you’re in for an interesting read with this Fast Company piece knocking some conventional wisdom on managing your time. It takes on some of the most popular productivity advice, arguing that drawing up a to-do list in the morning is poor timing, that you don’t really need regularly scheduled breaks, and that it’s fine to let papers stack up, among other pieces of advice running counter to everything we’ve been taught.

3. Is working from home contagious?

As the number of employees within a company who work off-site increases, the “increasing migration from the company office drains it of its traditional value and appeal,” according to a paper in the fall issue of the journal Academy of Management Discoveries. The researchers studied employees at a large U.S.-based, high-tech multinational and found one of the strongest reasons cited for working off-site was “few people, if any, from my team work in the office much, so I do not benefit from coming in.”

Working off-site is “contagious and can spread through the organization,” the paper concludes. “Companies that permit employees to decide where they work should be aware that this practice can take on a life of its own and should make sure they have the means to bring teams together – in person and face-to-face – as often as needed.”

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