Business productivity is defined as the ratio between the production obtained and the resources used to obtain that production. It’s, therefore, an indicator of efficiency. The objective is always to do more with less.
To increase the production of materials and expendable objects, we resort to industrial mechanization. But there are companies, or areas of a company, in which the production capital is the knowledge and creativity of the workers themselves. These are the so-called knowledge workers.
This type of worker tends to “create their own work” based on their thinking and the needs of the company. Measuring their productivity is complicated because the value of what they produce is often intangible or difficult to measure, and there isn’t a direct relationship between the number of hours worked and the results generated.
An extensive study conducted by Advanced Workplace Associates concluded that there are a number of factors that influence the productivity of knowledge workers:
- Their integration with the rest of the team
- Their perception of the support they receive from their supervisors
- Their ability to share information
- Having clear objectives
- The significance of their work outside their group and organization.
- Trust in the team.
If companies want to be more productive, they must create an space and a company culture that takes care of these factors.
Something that this study does not mention, but which is obvious, is that an employee’s individual productivity is totally influenced by their intelligence, their mastery of the area of knowledge in which they work — something that is normally in constant evolution — and a set of soft skills necessary to achieve good performance. In this sense, the company must make frequent investments in training courses.
One of the soft skills that every employee must master to be efficient at work and in life is personal organization or self-management.
If all employees had the knowledge and tools necessary to apply a personal organization methodology such as GTD ( Getting Things Done), the company would obtain the following benefits:
- Increased confidence in the team. Everyone would know that the tasks they delegate to another team member would immediately go into their personal management system for further processing, without fear of it being forgotten.
- Increased personal confidence. Everyone would manage themselves according to a clear methodology and would know at all times what they have to spend their time on. The constant and frustrating feeling of having so much to do, but not knowing where to start, is no longer an issue.
- Better communication. Everyone would put their tasks in each other’s inbox without interrupting the work they are currently doing. Constant interruptions degrade personal productivity tremendously.
- Increased creativity. By not having to be in a constant stressful situation, the brain frees up space to think about more useful things. Creativity is one of the drivers of productivity.
- A mutually beneficial relationship between the company and the employee. By allowing employees to use a system that serves both their work and personal lives, they would feel benefited outside of work and motivated within the workplace.
- Increased personal and team productivity. A productive system is only as good as its weakest link. This means that an ineffective individual can undermine the overall productivity of the team. This problem would be avoided if all members were fluent in a proven method of organization.
Undoubtedly, these are great benefits for both the company and the employee. But a more horizontal and collaborative corporate culture is needed. If we want more profitable companies and more involved workers, it’s necessary to eliminate the old-fashioned control structures of the corporate world.
Originally published at https://facilethings.com.