In these modern times where you have apps available for almost anything and everything, where you have unlimited amount of data available in mobile subscriptions, we have generation X and forwards who are used to be online. Me my self being a bit older sometime find it to be counterproductive to have online access as while you are working you receive and email, a message on WhatsApp, Viber, Snapchat or Facebook messenger, which totally distracts you from your work and you end up using fair amount of time on things that are totally irrelevant for your work. If you on top of that are a procrastinator to start off, you are in trouble with regards to get things done.
However, I still manage to always deliver on time. Same applies to the millennial’s who somehow are tweeting, snapping, hash tagging, but when it comes to work, they still manage to complete their assignments within allocated time. So, what is the deal with this? How does this work and how is this even possible? Let us analyze this and either justify the “waste” of time or categorize it as something being useful despite of giving the illusion of being wasted time.
You might have heard of a tool called Yammer. It was a Facebook like service, but for the corporate sector. Microsoft bought this service back in 2012 if I am not totally mistaken. This was a surprising move for many. However, speculations were that Microsoft had to do something to compete with Facebook being total dominator within their field which is social networking. But again, as I mentioned the product was primarily meant for employers and businesses not as such for private persons. Facebook later wards came with something called Facebook at work, which was quite similar to Facebook for private persons or end consumer. You might also have heard of Slack, that too is a similar product, which is widely being used in businesses. Just to point out, all these tools that have been mentioned here, can be considered counterproductive products, which cause waste of time and waste of productivity. Yet employers are not only implementing these but are also encouraging their employees to use these products actively. So, what is the deal with that?
If you recall the 50,60 and even 70 and 80 eras you might recall that smoking var becoming a more and more trendy thing to do. Employers were even encouraged and, in some situations, forced to allow smoking breaks. Besides that, unions made sure that being minority at work you should get free on days special to you. Same was the rule for religions, where some employees were even allowed to perform religious rituals during work hours. If you take either of these activities, none of them have productivity written over them. A matter of fact they are not even remotely associated with productivity. However, they are related to well-being. In most of the cases these activities lead to social gathering, which either were productive or not, but small social gatherings they were for sure.
You might also remember the boom of open offices without cabins and no permanent desk policies, which were all justified with the fact that these changes will increase the collaboration and productivity of the employees. Even for these suggestions or change in work environments there were a lot of discussions with both people for and against the new trends. However, in the end of the day things happened as they did and most of these things are now considered as a natural part of a modern office space. Coming back to our original discussion, as we at least can learn from 50-70 years modern history is that humans have been and will remain to be human. They have a social need to interact with other people, despite of being at work, they still need to mingle or talk about none job related things. In these processes people learn other colleagues as human beings and make bonds. These bonds make the work environment much more suitable for creativity and teamwork cause increased productivity. This is also the reason that big companies strive to make work environments joy full, full packed with non-job related but stimulating activities. You might have read or heard about how employees of Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon etc. can work out during their work time. Or how these very same employees can play table tennis, or even video games without managers getting agitated. Managers and leaders from the newer generation are brought up and into this modern work environment where they realize that happy and healthy workforce is a key to success.
Organizational investment in health and well-being of their employees are very much in the zeitgeist right now. It’s being fueled by the latest science, the growing costs of unsustainable workforce practices and the recognition that promoting smarter workplace behaviors can also have a significant impact on the bottom line by driving employees to greater job satisfaction, engagement and productivity. One of the principal challenges for businesses today, though, is how to manage change in a way that keeps employees engaged and productive, while also readying them to be the driving force behind transformation. This is why it is very important for every organization to place the employee experience at the core of employee engagement, health, and well-being is essential to building a purpose-led organization.
This human-focused approach to addressing the future of work is one of the many reasons why well-being is increasingly important across the enterprise and with stress and burnout continuing to be two of the biggest challenges for both employees and employers many people wrongly assume that digital overload and burnout are problems reserved for the tech industry, when in fact it is a global conversation. With technology, innovation, and competition all getting faster, job stress in all industries is on the rise, this is why the most successful companies in the world are heavily investing in a more comprehensive, personalized, and science-driven approach to health and well-being in the workplace through technology.
With the support of technology and the leaders across industries, we’re continuing to think how to maximize employee health and well-being, and engage employees in new ways. Organizations are seeing an incredible opportunity for growth in AI and people analytics, where technology and data can be infused into career development and recruitment to eliminate bias, give real-time feedback, and engage employees. Imagine with the use human-focused AI, how much healthier, happier and more productive your workforce could be.
To capitalize on this monumental opportunity, organizations need to adapt to the demands of a highly-competitive environment to attract, retain, and support their most valuable resource – their workforce.
And since work-life integration continues to be an important factor in winning the war for talent, building a different kind of culture from what existed 10-15 years ago will be paramount to an organization’s success. Focusing on improving and well-being of people’s lives – along with the long-term health of the bottom line – will enable companies to go from surviving to thriving.