Tag Archives: office productivity

Emails Never Sleep: Employers Consider Email Expectations
14th August 2017 by Site Admin in General

For some employees, when they leave work, they don’t even think about it until they return the next morning. For others, while they may leave their place of employment, they’re never truly disconnected. That’s because there’s a workplace culture where some employees feel they must check and respond to their work emails 24/7/365. While this may be the new normal, there’s research that shows it may also be harmful to employees.
An article titled, “The Perils of After-Hours Email,” on the website of Human Resource Executive Online references a survey conducted by CareerBuilder where more than half of the 3,200+ workers surveyed said the traditional 9-to-5 workday is a thing of the past, almost half check or answer emails after work, and more than 40 percent complete work outside regular office hours. Besides the potential legal ramifications of paying employees for this time based on the overtime rules of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), there are certainly health issues that factor into this “always on” mentality.

Granted, some jobs will never fall into that 9-to-5 category, especially those of multinational companies and those that must function across multiple time zones. But employers are increasingly becoming aware of employee burnout and constantly accessing email is one of those factors.

Productivity is often the measure of success, but employees should also be aware of their supervisor’s expectations. If the boss demands an immediate answer to an email, regardless of when it’s sent, then that employee should know to check his or her work email on a regular basis. However, if a response can wait until the next business morning, then the employee is free to enjoy their time away from work.

There are several employers in the United States that have implemented “email free” days, prohibit emails after a specific time in the evening and on weekends, or assign employees on a rotational basis to answer after-hours emails. There are also HR departments that are monitoring these types of emails and quantifying why they were sent.

As the lines between work time and family time blur, it’s important for employers to realize that all employees have a breaking point and to dial it back a few notches before that can happen. As has been proven time and again, happy employees are more productive employees.

©Copyright 2017 by Robert Black as United Benefit Advisors. Reproduction permitted with attribution to the author.

A Country Polarized? Make Sure Your Office Isn’t
10th July 2017 by Site Admin in General

One of the latest things trending right now in business is the importance of office culture. When everyone in the office is working well together, productivity rises and efficiency increases. Naturally, the opposite is true when employees do not work well together and the corporate culture suffers. So, what are these barriers and what can you do to avoid them?

According to an article titled, “8 ways to ruin an office culture,” in Employee Benefit News, the ways to kill corporate culture may seem intuitive, but that doesn’t mean they still don’t happen. Here’s what organizations SHOULD do to improve their corporate culture.

Provide positive employee feedback. While it’s easy to criticize, and pointing out employees’ mistakes can often help them learn to not repeat them, it’s just as important to recognize success and praise an employee for a job well done. An “attaboy/attagirl” can really boost someone’s spirits and let them know their work is appreciated.

Give credit where credit is due. If an assistant had the bright idea, if a subordinate did all the work, or if a consultant discovered the solution to a problem, then he or she should be publicly acknowledged for it. It doesn’t matter who supervised these people, to the victor go the spoils. If someone had the guts to speak up, then he or she should get the glory. Theft is wrong, and it’s just as wrong when you take someone’s idea, or hard work, and claim it as your own.

Similarly, listen to all ideas from all levels within the company. Every employee, regardless of their position on the corporate ladder, likes to feel that their contributions matter. From the C-suite, all the way down to the interns, a genuinely good idea is always worth investigating regardless of whether the person who submitted the idea has an Ivy League degree or not. Furthermore, sometimes it takes a different perspective – like one from an employee on a different management/subordinate level – to see the best way to resolve an issue.

Foster teamwork because many hands make light work. Or, as I like to say, competition breeds contempt. You compete to get your job, you compete externally against other companies, and you may even compete against your peers for an award. You shouldn’t have to compete with your own co-workers. The winner of that competition may not necessarily be the best person and it will often have negative consequences in terms of trust.

Get rid of unproductive employees. One way to stifle innovation and hurt morale is by having an employee who doesn’t do any work while everyone else is either picking up the slack, or covering for that person’s duties. Sometimes it’s necessary to prune the branches.

Let employees have their privacy – especially on social media. As long as an employee isn’t conducting personal business on company time, there shouldn’t be anything wrong with an employee updating their social media accounts when they’re “off the clock.” In addition, as long as employees aren’t divulging company secrets, or providing other corporate commentary that runs afoul of local, state, or federal laws, then there’s no reason to monitor what they post.

Promote a healthy work-life balance. Yes, employees have families, they get sick, or they just need time away from the workplace to de-stress. And while there will always be times when extra hours are needed to finish a project, it shouldn’t be standard operating procedure at a company to insist that employees sacrifice their time.

©Copyright 2017 by Geoff Mukhtar, Communications Manager at United Benefit Advisors. Reproduction permitted with attribution to the author.