Organizations today are waking up to the growing importance of work-life balance. What is work life balance essentially? It’s the capability of completing delegated tasks within a stipulated period of time making way for a happier, more focused, mindful and most importantly a more productive workforce. While all of this looks good on paper, most people still harbour the notion that spending longer hours will lead to success.
Working smart – why it matters?
Research suggest to keep your productivity levels optimal you should take out personal time and reprioritize your tasks. If this holds true then why are employees still fighting the working smart v/s working hard battle? What is the reason that you are the first one in office and the last one out?
For starters, you can blame improper time management for this. Lack of clarity on proper time management between an organization and employee is the main culprit here. Having a company culture that encourages employees to make the most out of their regular work hours sets the right precedent. The fact is, that there will be instances where you might need to extend your work hours occasionally. However your team manager will need ensure that this does not become a regular occurrence since it can lead to a skewed work life balance which will impact team productivity since consistently long work hours lead to higher stress levels, fatigue and inadequate job satisfaction. Since all these factors directly impact employee productivity it ultimately trickles down to impact company profitability.
How can organizations ensure that employees are working smart?
Amongst the many things that organizations follow to ensure optimal productivity and improved work life balance, here are some of the things that can set off this effort.
Time management forms a very important part of managing productivity. The rise of the smart phone and other smart devices have been a blessing to us but these can be huge distractions as well. It will be hard for you to stay focused with the constant influx of notifications and messages on your smartphone. Apart from this, many of us instead of stepping away from our desks to catch a break prefer taking an online break. The idea behind this is that since we’ll be at our work station our break period will be shorter. Unfortunately, most of us find it harder to regulate these online breaks. The five minutes on Facebook rolls over into an hour in no time. Prioritizing work and regulating and timing online breaks consciously therefore, will help you in working smarter and will enable you to tick off all the boxes on that to-do list.
Working smarter is not an employee’s prerogative alone. There are a lot of factors that go into ensure that an employee is optimally utilizing his time at work. One of these factors is effort analytics. Incorrect effort analytics can lead to a lopsided work balance where one team will have a lot of time for breaks and the other will keep struggling with their workload and will eventually work themselves into a burnout. Managers and leadership therefore have to recognize signs of overwork such as increasing error rates, absenteeism in team members or consistent longer work hours and take appropriate measures to help their teams achieve their optimal productivity levels within manageable time frames.
In a recent interview, Mark T. Robinson, CEO, Citi South Asia, mentioned how endlessly long meetings eat up productivity hours. While good meetings are ones where everyone contributes intellectually, effective meetings are ones that are short and sweet. Instead of trying to nail the smallest of the issues in detail in one meeting, we should be encourage teams to identify problem areas and work on them individually at a team level.
Process automation also plays a big role to manage workloads, improve productivity and promote work-life balance and helps employees work smarter. The key focus of process automation is on execution and this helps in managing timelines and also reduces human errors. Managers should work with their teams to design well defined processes which will ensure proper governance and ensure that each node in the project delivery checklist is completed and reviewed without compromising on work quality and without disturbing work- life balance.
We agree that there is no substitute for hard work. However, in order for organizations to do better and employees to climb up the corporate ladder companies need to make sure that the employee are not just hard workers but are productive and happy workers.