Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Hour 41, Getting Ahead or Staying Afloat

On CIO.com this article was recently featured, Why your employees are overworked, burnt out and unmotivated. You see business articles like this all the time, sometimes legit, to often clickbait.

Given the topic I took the bait and got ready for an anti-Millennial article, except it wasn't there. In fact, "millennial" isn't even used in the article once.

What gives? In a nutshell, over 3,000 workers were surveyed in the U.S. and Canada by Staples Business Advantage that blows open some well held thoughts on office culture and productivity.


  • Study found that 91 percent of employees say they work more than 40 hours a week. However, they are not spending that time getting ahead on work -- they're using it to catch up and stay afloat.
  • Even though telecommuting is on the rise, the best work is done in the office

Or is it?

  • While 66% say the say the office the most productive place to work, there's a catch.
  • 40 percent of employees feel burnt out, citing workload, time pressures, manager pressure and job security as the top four reasons for burnout.
  • 65 percent said that workplace stress impacts them on a personal basis
  • 15 percent said they have taken a leave of absence as a direct result of workplace stress

Can Flexibility be Expanded, but Distractors Reigned In?
  • 63% say they feel they could avoid burnout with more flexible schedules
  • Critical productivity distractors include: email overload, multiple meetings, social networks, texting, instant messaging and even employee training, and employees are more strapped for time than ever.
Translation, the time your employee wastes looking down at his/her phone is likely dust compared to the time he/she spends hitting reply all, or sitting in a meeting to give a status to the email he/she just replied to about the project he/she hasn't been able to see through because of other distractors. 


91 percent of employees say they work more than 40 hours a week. However, they are not spending that time getting ahead on work -- they're using it to catch up and stay afloat.

Office Layout:

"You might also want to reconsider the layout of your office -- 56 percent said that loud coworkers kept them from being productive and 47 percent said they got distracted by people coming to talk to them. Combine that with other distractors like email overload, multiple meetings, social networks, texting, instant messaging and even employee training, and employees are more strapped for time than ever."
The Good News: employee desire to establish a sense of purpose


"Nearly half of respondents also said they would be more inspired at work if they had a sense of purpose. Recognizing employees doesn't have to be expensive. Simply calling out an individual's excellent work at a staff meeting or via an office-wide email can be effective," says Ringel.
My Take:

  • Something is missing from the article, the term "millennials"
  • For every one company that is cutting edge with productivity and office culture there are ten stuck living in the later half of the Industrial Revolution
  • We're kicking the can too much as workers. All this access to communication and collaboration is great, but too often it can slow things down with process, updates, and audit trails that are unread. 
  • Each company is different, each department has different needs.
  • Open offices, strong technology, and ways to informally collaborate are critical to success, but require boundaries. These boundaries include the need for uninterrupted time, and private rooms of various sizes (for meetings, or some conf calls) to balance all that open office space. 
  • Nothin is perfect, people are very adaptable. Recognize and reward success is a great way to help employees avoid burnout and instead rally for an inner sense of purpose.

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