In a must read piece in The New York Times, Tony Schwartz highlights the reasons on why we hate our workplaces. He talks about how employees are getting disengaged from the organizations they work for and not gaining enough intrinsic satisfaction from the employment deal.
But, what caught my eyes, were some data showing the energy and time deficit in companies today. This data was collected from over 12000 white-collar workers from different parts of the globe.
We all know that both breakthrough and incremental value creation requires strategic / creative thinking. But, then how can our companies create that additional value when 70% of the workforce do not have the time, energy or opportunity to engage in strategic / creative thinking. There is research that indicates that multi-tasking actually kills productivity or reduces the quality of output. Yet, data suggest that 2/3rd of the workforce are not able to focus on one thing at a time.
As the author writes:
We often ask senior leaders a simple question: If your employees feel more energized, valued, focused and purposeful, do they perform better? Not surprisingly, the answer is almost always “Yes.” Next we ask, “So how much do you invest in meeting those needs?” An uncomfortable silence typically ensues.
In another lovely post on productivity, one of the co-founders of Buffer talks about the need for modern organizations to manage energy, not time. How many hours we work (or laze around in the office) is the wrong question, he argues. To be more focused, productive and purposeful, he recommends going back to how our brains work. The basic premise is that we can focus well for about 90-120 minutes and need a break thereafter to regain the energy to focus again.
So instead of thinking about “What can I get done in an 8 hour day”, I’ve started to change my thinking to “What can I get done in a 90 min session”.
As an HR practitioner and leader / manager, how are you managing your workforce’s time and energy? If anything, let’s keep meetings to no more than 90 minutes…please!