Tag Archive: employee

…and I think this is one of the biggest causes of the great division between Employees and Management.

If you’re having back problems, you wouldn’t buy more of the chairs that you already have, so why, when projects are running behind schedule, do we require more meetings (which detract from productive time) or try to throw more people (outsiders to the current project) at the problem (which require the project ‘insiders’ to slow their work to catch their new counterparts up on the tasks at hand)?

Again, I defer to the law of extremes:
-if you threw a million people at your problem would it go away? Most likely not. You would have a smaller, core group working and a much larger group just standing around.
-but, if you put someone who was extremely talented on the job, how would your job look? It would most likely be completed in a timely manner and to a high degree of quality.

So, which will you choose?

Finding quality people and making more productive meetings is hard, but the dividends pay off in the long run.

Last week Friday I posed the question: “What single thing would increase your workplace satisfaction the most?

I attempted to try to get you to think “outside the box”, but I was surprised at how basic and attainable (from a business perspective) many of the answers were.

Without further ado, here are the results!

Some notable answers (since I obviously had to generalize in order to categorize):

Flex Time/Working Remotely

  • Flexible work hours, and a truly salary based job. I feel that you should be given your tasks to do, and, if you get them done at 3am, then you don’t need to go into work the next day. If you are super efficient and you can get your workday done in two hours, than you are good to go. Currently there is little motivation to be more efficient besides getting more work.
  • Work from home more. The fact of the matter is that with modern technology there are at least 2 days a week I could work from the comforts of my home and get more done because of less distractions.

Less Complicated Systems

  • I wish I could actually fix all of the problems I find. Essentially, it takes too long to fix problems, so I have to ignore a lot. I don’t like ignoring problems.
  • Less formal paperwork, as it is extremely monotonous and boring, and more creative hands-on type work, which is stimulating and exciting.
  • Be able to do things and make them happen without so many constraints

More Responsibility/Trust/Empowerment

  • More empowerment to do the right thing
  • Working on an entrepreneurial project that was my idea to start. Small team, large risk, large reward.

Better Equipment/Tools

  • Technology and IT support – The best computers, up to date computer systems, up to date software, phones, accessible video conference call equipment, TVs, Projectors, multiple computer workstations (so that we can go walk on a treadmill while working on e-mails or sit in a big comfy chair for relaxed meetings), high tech gym facility to use, etc.

Key Take-Aways:

People aren’t complaining about too much work! They want more work/empowerment/responsibility! They just hate the roadblocks (bad equipment, pesky co-workers, and broken systems) that prevent them from getting their jobs done! This should be excellent news to any employer! People want to get more done and do a better quality job, you just have to get out of their way (less work for you), and let them do it! I am of the belief that people want to produce good, quality work that they can have pride in; if you are afraid to take your hands off of the wheel and let your employees drive, then maybe you have hired the wrong employees for the job!

The winner, by a landslide, which will make employees happiest is working flexible hours or being able to work remotely. I can sympathize with the majority on this one – Yesterday I sat in a 1 hour meeting; the team went around the table, discussing things which were not relevant to me, for 50 minutes of this 1 hour meeting. I spoke for 5 minutes on things which were relevant to 5% of the folks in the room. If you take the combined salaries for the 12 people in the room, and the 50 minutes that each of them wasted (and then factor in that this is a weekly reoccurring meeting), this is a substantial business expense! If I was working remotely, this would have been a video/conference call during which I could have been working on other things for the 50 minutes which did not pertain to me, and I could have still chimed in for my brief update for those interested. Better yet, this could have been handled in an e-mail or a shared Google document that multiple people could update simultaneously with their reports.

There have been many studies and blog posts on this topic, and I really believe that non-standard work hours (along with an obsolescence of desks and cubicles) will be a factor in the workplace of the future (There are articles claiming that the 8 hour workday is biologically hard-wired, but these same articles also note that many employees waste a large amount of this ‘on the clock’ time).

The best part of offering flexible hours, is it makes good financial sense for businesses. It truly is win-win. By working from home, employees are more comfortable (which supports creativity), more positive (which supports productivity), and they have the power to choose to be interrupted less (by silencing their phones/e-mail), which serves to reduce large amounts of waste! How often do you really need a physical face-to-face meeting in this über-connected age? Also, since more of the lights are off back at the office, less water is being used, etc, the company saves additional expenses.

Why, then, do companies seem so hesitant to adopt this practice? My best guess is fear of employees ‘slacking off’ at home because they’re not under the watchful eye of their managers at work (again, if you’re worried about people slacking off because they’re at home, you have hired the wrong people!!!), and the general, underlying mindset of “that’s just not what we do here”.

What are your thoughts? What would make the biggest difference in your job satisfaction? Now that you know this information, what are you going to do about it?

Well, I had another post all ready to go today, when this question hit me.

What single thing would increase your workplace satisfaction the most?

I’d love to get your feedback, so please go to the this link and answer this one question survey!

Please feel free to be irrational, if that is your honest answer (If you wish you had an unlimited supply of free pop and hamburgers while you were at work, so be it). Be open-minded, be creative, and really think about what thing would really make you the happiest you could be at work.

I will make a post tomorrow or early next week with the results (once we get a substantial number of results, anyway.

Thanks everyone!!!

So I went to Lowes last night (notice a re-occurring theme here? It’s both a blessing and a curse that I have a Lowes within 5 miles of my house!), to pick up some lumber to build my stand-up desk.

I could build the whole thing with 5 cuts out of a small piece of plywood, so I grabbed a 4′ x 4′ sheet and off I went. Unfortunately, I only made it to the parking lot because the sheet of plywood wouldn’t fit in my car (I’d fault Ford, but I suppose the Focus wasn’t designed with much lumber-hauling functionality in mind)!

I went back into the store to have them cut the board in half (which, as a bonus, would also save me one cut later), but the saw was broken. The associate brought me to where I found the plywood and showed me that I could pick up two 4′ x 2′ pieces (essentially my first piece cut in half), so I picked these up and headed over to the register.

Now, the two separate pieces were a few dollars more than the one solid piece, but I shouldn’t have to pay extra for the two pieces because the cause of the problem (aside from the board not fitting into my car) was that their saw was broken.

Nevertheless, I didn’t say a word as I was checking out, and as the cashier was processing the return she said “I didn’t charge you any extra, because our saw was broken”.

Here’s why I loved this so much: I used to work in retail and I couldn’t do anything without calling my manager to the register: no discounts, no sales, no nothing! This employee, however, was able to use her judgement and apply a discount at the register. It wasn’t a huge discount (I know that managers are still needed for those), but I love the fact that the company trusts her (and the rest of their employees) enough to allow them the freedom to give small discounts without having to create a whole ordeal and call the manager over.

Thumbs up, Lowes! You’re winning me back! Now just fix your sign!!!

(…and, for those of you who are interested, here is my cheap, yet effective stand-up desk. Day 3 and loving it!!!)

Standing Desk