Productivity, a matter of time

Productivity, a matter of time

Friday, 22 september 2017 | Redacción CEU

Hyperconnectivity, presenteeism or cyberloafing are some of the known as new labor evils that lurk the time management in the present labor society. The new technologies are a double-edged sword. The time that they make us save on one hand, they can be taking it away from us on the other. Lack of time flexibility, task overload or poor work organization can negatively influence in business results. Proper distribution of tasks and times can increase the company performance. Are the times being well managed in enterprises? Is our work model productive?


Do you spend hours at work looking at how the clock hands turn? Do you take advantage of the idle times in the office to check your social network activity? Are you always rushed in deadlines? Do you perform so many tasks at the same time that sometimes you forget important issues? Are you a member of Whatsapp groups where you can receive messages from your superiors at any time? Do you get calls from your boss on holidays? If the answer to some of these questions is positive, your company may not be managing the times properly. The Human Resources department must get on with it!

Neither the worker who warms the chair is always a bad employee, nor the one who stays in the office for more hours after finishing his/her work day is the most committed and corporatist. Some companies perpetuate this type of unusual behaviors due to poor distribution of tasks and times. Work performance is in jeopardy. The company productivity is a matter of weight, but also of time.

Disconnecting French style

The regulation adopted this year by France on the right of workers to disconnect invites to reflection: Has the labor world crossed the privacy frontiers? Hyperconectivity has penetrated every aspect of our society. Workers of all types live with a mobile glued to the hand, check the mail at home and receive messages from their bosses at any time. A new French regulation wants to combat this widespread digital yoke. Companies with more than fifty workers must negotiate with their employees the right to disconnect from digital tools by law.

Since new technologies coexist in our daily work, procedures have been accelerated, tasks are less tedious, communication has improved substantially, we can solve problems in real time in a simple way and the results are easier to measure than before. There are many advantages that technology offers in the workplace, but have we neglected its side effects in our lives?

Connected workers are exposed to effects like high digital dependence, chronic fatigue, stress or anxiety disorders. Human Resources departments have to pay attention to how employees and managers relate with new technologies to avoid the perpetuation of this type of harmful behavior through their work models. In addition, as the Co-Director of the Executive Master in Human Resources, Talent Management and Leadership of the Institute for Advanced Management CEU, Rafael Sancho Zamora, explained in a recent interview:

<<New technologies allow and force the management decentralization and the talent development, forcing to rethink the own Department's activity>>

Productivity, a matter of time

Short times and idle times

Bringing professional dedication to the limit, making strenuous working days and the work overload –short times– can even provoke the syndrome known in Japan as karoshi or death from overwork. In the West, this affliction is not registered. But, in a good measure, the Western professionals do experience stress, anxiety, lack of concentration and sleep disturbances in relation to how times are distributed at work. Our body needs to rest for being at its full capacity.

The presenteeism is a problem that many companies have to face today. Employees go to work and fulfill their hours but spend much of that time to non-work stuff –idle times–. Cyberloafing is one of its modalities, employees devote periods of their work day to managing their social networks, sending personal messages or watching videos on the Internet. These practices that seriously affect the work performance are generated in part by the scant motivation, poor distribution of tasks and times or lack of job security –even, by work overload–.

Companies have the ability to avoid both short and idle times. In order to achieve this, they should balance the tasks management between workers, calculate the right duration for their good performance, avoid the multitasking or the work overload, adjusting both rest and activity times, monitoring the work efficiency of all employees, motivate them and encourage the teamwork.

In good time, good results

Some companies like Apple, Disney or Amazon are betting on different formulas like teleworking to increase performance and avoid the side effects of the presenteeism. Professionals who work from home are 13% more productive. However, they have more difficulties to be promoted in their company, according to a study by the Society for Human Resources Management. Networking and contact with the office are indispensable to compensate this imbalance. Working-hour flexibility is one of the trends that achieves good results in the professional efficiency, it also facilitates family reconciliation and allows employees to organize their day and be more efficient.

Labor productivity is a matter of time, about how it is managed and how the work environment evolves over it. Employees and employers can make progress improving their planning, developing schedules and setting priorities. If the Human Resources work on the good time management, they will contribute to the improvement of the professional concentration, the eradication of the evils that lurk to them, the increase of energy in the teams and a better and effective work performance.

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