Want to Know How to Increase Productivity? Ending Meetings Isn’t It

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A new year at Shopify is bringing some new rules. according to a leaked internal memoThe Canadian e-commerce giant told its employees last week that it was implementing measures to address meeting overload and increase productivity. company that almost shut down 10 percent of its employees mid 2022 industry wide tighteningAt all pre-determined recurring meetings involving three or more persons—approximately 10,000 events-are being removed from its scheduling system, and there will be a “cooling-off period” for the next two weeks before any of those meetings can be added back to the calendar. Any meeting with more than 50 people can be held only on Thursdays and company ready again its meeting-free wednesdays rules. Leaders also discouraged using Slack, saying the app is “bloated, noisy and distracting”, and urged employees to abandon any large chat groups.

Shopify is the latest company to implement extreme restrictions in an effort to increase productivity. During the pandemic, many companies were nervous that working from home would mean losing employees, so they went full-on Big Brother. install tracking software On employee computers to monitor how they spent every second of every workday. More recently, in December, employees of Twitter Reportedly Arrived at San Francisco Location They need to work deep into the night to find a bedroom with a mattress. However, according to workplace experts, these serious steps are often not effective. They don’t address the core issues causing productivity problems, and often don’t take actual employee input into account, resulting in policies that actually make them less productive, not more. And probably very, very angry.

“Meetings are not inherently bad”

Take the Shopify meeting ban, for example. Rodney Schmaltz, an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at McEwan University, says: “Meeting in and of itself is not inherently bad; The problem is that often the meetings are not conducted as effectively as they could be.” research shows Poorly run meetings—too many people thinking for too long—can hurt productivity, while a clear agenda and concise message can make meetings effective. blanket-cancellation meetings are ineffective because gatherings are occasions To share major decision and project updates, or to solicit company-wide feedback. Giving employees the tools to run more effective meetings can help increase productivity. Schmaltz uses PowerPoint as an example. companies like Amazon To avoid the monotony of someone reciting list after bulleted list from their slides, PowerPoint presentations are banned. “But PowerPoint can be used effectively if the slides are created to highlight graphical data or images,” says Schmaltz. “It will be more effective to train employees how To present information effectively.

Twitter CEO Elon Musk told employees in November that they should take the long hours or quit A good example of what most companies shouldn’t be doing Greg Chung-YanAssociate Professor in Industrial-Organizational Psychology at the University of Windsor. Chung-yan says, “They made the decision (apparently) unilaterally, without consultation, so it came as a surprise to everyone.” “Even people who agreed with him may have left because of the way he chose to communicate to employees.” He adds that any changes should take into account specific organizational practices and be accompanied by good communication and transparency so that employees understand why the changes are happening.

Employee input needed to increase productivity

The most important thing, says Chung-Yan, is that employees should be consulted about any extreme policy changes: “After all, it is the people who actually do the work who know what can be changed and What cannot be changed, what will increase efficiency or hinder it. The success of organizational change has as much to do with the implementation as it does with the change itself.

For example, some businesses opted for a hybrid hot-desk set-up when they welcomed employees to the office, only to find that their creature-of-habit employees were at the exact same spot every day. Sit down, anyway, workers burst into a white-hot fury when they learn that a stranger from another department has taken “his” place. Many things in modern workplaces appear to benefit workers, but actually annoy or hinder them.

Sweeping reforms uninformed of employee wishes or input can also unbalance workflow and structure. “We have to take into account the socio-technical system any time we launch an intervention,” says Tom O’NeillProfessor of Industrial and Organizational Psychology at the University of Calgary. “How well do the policies interact with the employee’s job duties, communication and collaboration requirements, tools and technology, and social context?”

At Shopify, for example, the next two weeks without any meetings will likely see employees kneeling in an avalanche of Teams pings and emails until they mutiny and secretive by the coffee machine to sort out the details of that TPS report. They don’t take support of gatherings. “I think all the rules and regulations should be followed by guiding principles rather than draconian,” says O’Neill.

How to better increase productivity

If workplaces are going to try to help employees become more productive, one of the most important things they can do is ask How can you support them? So, they should create a survey to poll opinion, host a town hall (uh-oh, another meeting!) or run workshops to collect feedback. organizational consultant Graham LoweProfessor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Alberta and author of building healthy organizations, suggests that workplaces consider the implications for retention, recruitment and engagement of any policy changes. “I note the increasing attention in the business media to ‘leaving it quiet’ should be a concern for Shopify,” he says.

“What is most consistently seen as having a positive impact on productivity, satisfaction and balance is the flexibility an employer is able to provide”

Lo recently conducted a survey, Shaping the future of work in Canada, and say the findings emphasize that employers need to give all employees a meaningful say in post-pandemic work arrangements – including through potential productivity increases. “These two-way consultations can easily tap into employee suggestions on how, based on their experiences during the pandemic, they can be more productive. The result will be a more committed workforce,” he says.

However, only half of the home-based workers surveyed were asked about their future work arrangements – and less than half were satisfied with their level of input. This is unfortunate, given that Lowe says that their results also “clearly show that when employers engage their workforce in meaningful consultations about future work arrangements, they experience much higher job satisfaction, less Turnover and more loyalty will be rewarded.”

Too Busy for Surveys? A more popular “extreme” workplace policy companies can try to implement: true flexibility. “What is most consistently seen as having a positive impact on productivity, satisfaction and balance is the flexibility an employer is able to offer,” says Marie-Hélène Pelletier, A Vancouver-based work psychologist and expert in resilience and workplace mental health. “The more control and influence that can be shared, the better.” The productivity breakdown employers fear will hit during the pandemic never really materialized— because I had to work from home (and is) something that many employees wanted. It was generally business as usual, with nice perks from many more satisfied employees, amused by the coming or missing of childcare pick-up.

So what to do instead of things like ban or bed in the office? four day work week—shown to be positive impact on productivity, Unlimited sick leave and mental-health days? Better Childcare Support? Freedom to WFH—or at the office—whenever you want? A happy employee is a productive employee. If employees aren’t angry with their company for overworking TPS reports or forcing them to meet in the coffee room, they’re more likely to churn out those deliverables with a smile.

Furthermore, in the current scramble for talent, having things like paid volunteer days, discounted learning opportunities or free meals can help make employers much more attractive to potential candidates than extreme, misguided policies like blanket meeting bans. needed. The more employers offer flexi-forward, employee-friendly perks, the more employees will be motivated to do a good job—no excessive productivity policies needed.

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