In a world where technology permeates our existence, HR representatives and business analysts are scrambling to answer the big questions about the impact computers can have on the workplace. When so many processes can be automated, and analytics show that computers can often take the place of three or four employees much more cheaply, we have to ask ourselves: what role should using machines as talent take in the workplace?
Strategic management and Innovation
Every company, whether it’s a tiny start-up or an established megacorporation the size of a small metropolis, dreams of the day when a perfectly streamlined, productive workflow will characterize the everyday working lives of their employees. The reality is that most companies don’t know where to start to achieve this standard of operations. Sure, we know that productivity can be promoted and efficiency maximized on an individual level and even a hierarchal level, but what about at the level of the organization in its entirety? Welcome to organizational design, a concept which takes known patterns of effectiveness and applies them to corporations as a whole.
Very few people genuinely enjoy conflict, and those who seem to thrive on it tend to be the ones making the rest of us miserable, but in the workplace, conflict is inevitable. Solid personal development practices depend on employees working together and learning how to overcome workplace problems professionally and graciously. At the end of the day, you and your coworkers are a team working towards a common goal, and if you allow bad blood and frustrations to build and build until they boil over you’re only contributing to your own discomfort and impeding your own productivity and personal development.
We know almost instinctively that meeting goals increases happiness. When people run a 5k for the first time or win the spelling bee or cross off the last item on the list, there’s a sense of accomplishment that comes along with the experience. We feel good about ourselves; we did the thing! But sometimes, this sense of accomplishment can suffer in the area of work. Projects and deadlines pile up, seemingly endless, and emails pour in faster than they can be answered. Without effective time management techniques to combat the tide, the average employee can wind up feeling more like he or she is drowning rather than surfing.
Pop media has a bad habit of taking a seemingly innocuous observation and blowing it way out of proportion, asserting that one opinion or side of the issue is superior and completely ignoring the advantages of the other. One such instance of this is recent insinuations that “leaders” are better than “bosses,” and that they are mutually exclusive, but can we say that this is fundamentally so? Probably not. Being a leader or being a boss is a specific choice made by managers as a way to adopt a performance management style.
Employers are constantly coming up with new ways to increase productivity and efficiency in the workplace. Methods to accomplish this usually involve elevating employee engagement using a variety of means, such as employee engagement activities. Employee engagement is the term assigned to the amount of energy that employees are devoting to their work on any given day. Simply put, the problem employers are addressing is that the less engaged employees are, the more distracted they become, resulting in decreased workflow and productivity throughout the day. So how do you incorporate employee engagement activities into your workforce in a way that will enhance your business? Let’s take a look.
For many employees, work can feel like a place where life gets put on hold, and all of the self improvement we plan to do ends up second string to our lives as employees. For some workers, long working days or a constant connectivity to work-related technology can have a powerful negative impact on quality of life both in and out of the office. The result of this is a downward spiral of negative energy, where self improvement seems like an impossible mountain to climb and gets placed by the wayside. But there’s good news! Companies as a whole are showing a trend towards encouraging employees to relax, take breaks, exercise, and establish a workflow routine that compliments employees’ individual work styles. Because of this, employees are finding themselves more free to shape their work lives to fit around their personal lives, resulting in happier, more productive employees.
In a 2014 article entitled “The Overwhelmed Employee,” researchers at Deloitte University Press conducted a study introducing the business world to an emerging concept in HR known as, you guessed it, the Overwhelmed Employee. In an age where employees are more connected than ever, productivity has experienced a surprising downturn. With more access to work, employees experience the effects of what’s being called “hyper-employment,” where the lines between work life and personal life become blurred to the point where employees may feel like they never leave work at all, so tethered they’ve become to their mobile devices. With the ability to do work anywhere, the pressure to produce has a tendency to grow, while the productivity of any given hour actually goes down. By applying simplification of work to a busy work flow, employees can recover their sanity and make productive headway in their positions.