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For today’s workforce, “productivity” has often become synonymous with working long hours and always being “on the go” for customers and colleagues. The global pandemic has forced employees to adapt to remote working overnight, immediately blurring the lines between work and personal life, which has added even more work for some. For this reason, many companies are increasingly struggling with employee attrition, spurred by workers leaving their jobs in droves to re-evaluate their careers, improve their mental health, and find new options that provide flexibility and the support they need.
The Great Resignation and the adoption of modern working methods are causing fundamental changes in the way companies recruit and retain their staff. Today’s new hires are demanding more flexibility from their workplace, including a reduction in the number of hours worked and the way their days are structured both in and out of the office.
As organizations seek to transform their workplace in an effort to provide this flexibility and increase retention, the idea of a four-day work week has come to the fore. The shortened week is already gaining traction in the United States and Europe, with many employees ready to quit their jobs in favor of companies offering more flexible working hours to accommodate this change. Organizations around the world have started implementing four-day working weeks, including the Icelandic, Japanese, Scottish and Spanish governments, as well as companies like Unilever New Zealand, Microsoft Japan, Elephant Ventures and Kickstarter, among others. .
It is clear that organizations need to adopt modern ways of working in order to attract and retain talent. Here are some areas for business leaders to explore when determining how to modernize their businesses and meet the demand for flexibility.
Related: The big resignation
Master the art of communication
For businesses with less than 100 employees, miscommunication can be costly. The financial impact rises dramatically for large organizations, with workplace communication issues running into the millions a year, so companies understandably spend a lot of time trying to communicate effectively. Maintaining effective communication is essential for productivity and collaboration, but employees can be overwhelmed with so much daily communication that their real tasks never seem to be done.
As workers already feel overwhelmed, companies must adapt by sometimes adopting a less is more approach. Reducing the number of emails, scheduling fewer meetings, and streamlining the number of communication apps will greatly relieve some of the pressure from employees, who are often reluctant to search through multiple documents, spreadsheets , emails and chat messages to find the information they need. .
Related: The best communication skills for success at work
Automate repetitive and routine tasks
Every business has tons of repetitive or routine tasks, including simple data entry or daily status updates. Although many tasks can be easily automated through technology, most companies still require their employees to perform these tasks manually. Not only does this waste time and resources, but performing repetitive and routine tasks manually can lead to more human error and compliance risks, and certainly leads to boredom, lower employee morale and a decline in employee productivity.
If an employee is disengaged, they will care less about the quality of their work. As a result, they will naturally be unproductive. There are many ways to foster employee engagement, but it starts with good onboarding, ongoing learning opportunities, and clearly defined roles and responsibilities. It’s also important to reiterate company values to employees to ensure they feel included and part of the mission. The ultimate goal is to create a culture where all employees are working towards the company’s long-term vision and feeling supported and included along the way.
Setting goals and setting expectations
Setting clear and measurable goals improves communication and employee engagement. Make sure these goals are clearly defined throughout the organization so employees can have a clear idea of what they’re trying to accomplish and feel like they’re part of the bigger picture. Clarity is also important for prioritizing tasks to help teams tackle urgent items first, which reduces strategic failures and longer-term employee success rates, fostering more fulfilling engagement. employees.
Document the processes
To ensure everyone is on the same page, clear documentation of the process is essential. Sharing information on a common platform not only increases the efficiency of an organization, but also promotes employee autonomy. Providing all employees with access to the same documents gives them the ability to make updates and check on the status of things in real time, eliminating email chains and unproductive meetings.
Workplace modernization is coming whether we are ready or not. Recent trends such as the 4-day work week can have a positive impact on work-life balance, and while I’m not convinced that rolling out a 4-day work week will actually lead to an increase in productivity, putting many of these other suggestions into practice to stay competitive in today’s climate is a must.
Related: Document your processes before they go out