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Working hard, or hardly working?

Business Support Tips & Tricks
busy does not equal productivity

The importance of recognising your productivity

I recently attended a training course aimed at increasing success as a recruiter, and understanding how to identify and improve your approach in this highly competitive industry. One of the topics covered during the course that I found particularly interesting, was a session on productivity versus hours spent in the office.

During this session, our trainer brought an article to our attention which revealed the results of a six-hour working day trial at a retirement home in Sweden. By cutting shift hours, they improved patient care and boosted staff morale. Nurses were found to be 20% happier and had more energy at work to participate in activities with the patients. There was a reduction in the amount of sick leave taken, and the nurses were also 2.8 times less likely to take any time off during a two week period. Closer to home in Australia, the 2014 EY Australian Productivity Pulse, a survey of almost 2500 workers, found that on average, Australian workers are spending six hours of unpaid time at their desks. The same study also found :

‘The workers within the Australian workforce who are highly productive (23%) have much in common. These are people whose skills are well aligned to their jobs, work in a supportive culture and are valued for their contribution. Money is not their main motivating factor. They rate satisfaction with the work they do and work / life balance as more important than salary or bonuses. Contrary to popular belief, the actual time spent at work has little impact on productivity.’

Food for thought if you ask me! While brainstorming, we came up with five easy tips to help us work smarter, not harder:

  1. Ban yourself from social media during your working hours.
  2. Plan your working week well in advance to ensure trips out of the office are coordinated, and you don’t have to pop in and out all day long.
  3. Block out times in your calendar for different tasks, so that your colleagues can see when you will be available and schedule time with you if they need you, rather than distracting you from a task at hand.
  4. Take your lunch break – a refreshed mind and full stomach will allow you to stay focused when the afternoon lull hits.
  5. Ensure you have a work life balance. Don’t regularly skip events / gym / social activities to remain at work past your scheduled hours. A burnt out employee = a super unproductive and unhappy employee!

Of course I am not suggesting that we all throw the towel in on full time hours, but as a part-time employee I found the study to be somewhat guilt relieving! I often feel bad taking a lunch break, or clocking off at 2.30pm when I know my colleagues will be in the office long after I am gone. While I definitely can’t claim to have mastered the above tips, or claim to remain 100% engaged all day (helloooo, snapchat bitmojis) it is great to know that more hours spent chained to the desk does not always equal productivity.