There is no shortage of articles on the Internet about how to boost productivity on the job.
And for good reason – small organizational tweaks can directly influence the productivity of your entire team.
Productivity tips, techniques and hacks abound everywhere. It’s not hard to get an idea of what you should be doing to boost productivity.
But with great information, also come great myths. Some tips that are pedalled as productivity boosters can, in fact, have a negative impact.
So, let’s flip the script and explore what doesn’t work by breaking down three common productivity myths.
Myth #1 – Social Media = Bad at Work
It’s easy to forget that a world where social media notifications weren’t blinking on every screen didn’t exist just a decade ago.
It’s no surprise that social media and productivity are often at odds. What starts with a quick notification check ends with minutes or hours spent endlessly scrolling and bouncing around different apps.
Employers tend to view social media as a productivity black hole, where employees spend hours browsing Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.
The Heavy-Handed Approach to Managing Social Media Use
It’s not uncommon for employers to rule with heavy hands when it comes to social media. Some employers try to block all access to social media services on company computers.
However, the rise of smartphones makes access to social media just as easy – especially in a fully remote environment.
So, is it even possible to completely block social media?
Realistically, probably not – unless you institute strict anti-social media policies and surveillance, then dedicate huge resources to enforcing them.
But through a combination of smart policies and employee time tracking tools, social media doesn’t have to be all bad.
Making Social Media Available Can Boost Productivity
If you have clear limitations and guidelines on acceptable social media use, you won’t give employees a reason to sneak some notification answering on the side.
This allows employees to use social media during breaks and idle time. But makes it off limits during work periods, keeping focus on tasks at hand.
This permitted outlet for using social media allows employees respite and ensures productivity isn’t disrupted by temptations during work periods..
This may seem counterintuitive at first. And it may appear hard to find the right balance for what is an “acceptable” level of use. Especially if your employees have roles that rely on social media to varying degrees. That’s where employee monitoring software can help.
Balancing Social Media Use with Employee Monitoring Software
Workpuls employee monitoring software allows administrators to label social media websites and apps as acceptable use. This can be done contextually too based on an employee’s roles and tasks.
For example, a marketing team who manages a company’s social media accounts, social media can be designated as “productive”.
Whereas for the design team, social media use can be labelled “unproductive” and only permitted during downtime.
So, in short: don’t instinctively think of social media as bad for productivity.
Sensible social media policies can enhance productivity by keeping social media to appropriate times, and showing employees you trust them to be responsible. Especially when combined with employee time tracking software.
The end result is good for productivity.
Myth #2 – Employees are Less Productive at Home
Employees today increasingly desire the flexibility to work from home. Especially as many got a taste for it during the COVID-induced shift to remote work in 2020.
While COVID demonstrated that employees can be just as productive at home. Many organizations still are eager to return to an office-based arrangement, driven by the belief that remote employees are less productive.
The prevailing logic is that remote employees lose the office's connectedness, communication and collaboration.
In a Digital World, Location is Less of a Factor
With the technology available today, the notion that workers are less productive at home should be put to bed.
And here’s proof.
The COVID-driven global work from home experiment of 2020 revealed that the majority of workplaces were able to not just maintain, but increase productivity.
In fact, a report by Prodoscore found a 47% increase in productivity in March and April of 2020 compared to the same months in 2019.
An Airtasker survey further shows that employees spent less time at home avoiding work, by as much as 15%. The study also revealed remote employees take more breaks, but ultimately work 1.4 more days per month on average.
Effective Remote Workforce Management is Key
Now, that’s not to say managing remote workers doesn’t take some adjustments.
Accountability and measuring results is still critically important. But the idea of them working from home should be viewed in a new light: not as a hindrance, but a natural extension of your operations.
Work from home software has evolved to embrace this new digital ecosystem.
Automated time tracking and workforce management tools provide decision-makers with the key information that reveals how productive their workforce is, regardless of their location.
Myth #3 – Productivity Needs to be High, And Monitored Consistently
The competitive nature of business often drives up managerial expectations .
One common idea is that your team must be 100% productive and efficient all the time.
Some workforce management software even seem to imply this should be the case. And that companies that don’t optimize for this will be left behind.
The Risk of Productivity FOMO
The belief that anything less than 100% productivity is coming up short creates a form of productivity FOMO (fear of missing out).
And this misguided belief is one of the fastest ways to burn yourself and your team out.
Constant 100% productivity is a myth. Even robots rarely achieve 100% uptime over a long-enough horizon.
Productivity doesn’t always guarantee high quality, either.
High-quality work tends to be the by-product of consistent short-bursts of intensely productive time. These bursts are punctuated with less productive time, which may be equally as important.
Don’t Fear Downtime – Plan For It
Less-intense work periods can yield significant improvements and innovations over the long-term.
Marrying realistic, sustainable productivity targets with productivity tracking software and clear processes is one of the best ways to track short-bursts of productivity.
With the right employee productivity tracker, managers can quantify productivity, set a baseline, monitor drop-offs, and benchmark top performers.
This data means that high-performing teams can be recognized and rewarded, while lower-performing teams can be provided additional support, where needed.
Workpuls employee productivity tracker is designed to reveal data-driven productivity analytics to help enhance team-wide and individual productivity.
Many business owners and decision makers unfortunately fall into the pitfall of blindly following “productivity hacks” on the Internet.
It’s important to remember that productivity is a game of numbers, not of assumptions. And with the right processes, workflows, and analytics in place, you can set the foundation for compounding productivity over time.
A data-first approach, such as through an employee monitoring and productivity tracking software platform like Workpuls, is the one of the most effective ways to quantitatively connect the dots over a long period.