Humans Found to Be Generally Unproductive

Catchy headline. Although I must admit the I find the whole notion a bit disappointing. I understand the need to have a provocative headline to generate links, visits, etc. But I've never met anyone I've worked with whom I would classify as "unproductive."

However, I have seen many work environments that stifle productivity.

The author of this headline is referring to The Microsoft Office Personal Productivity Challenge (PPC) undertaken in 2004/2005. Here's the article I'm referring to for your reading pleasure.

The gist of the article, and the result of the research suggests that a lot of
time and effort is wasted at work. Here are some of the highlights:

"The most common productivity pitfalls are unclear objectives, lack of team communication and ineffective meetings -- chosen by 32 percent of respondents overall -- followed by unclear priorities at 31 percent and procrastination at 29 percent (U.S.: procrastination, 42 percent; lack of team communication, 39 percent; ineffective meetings, 34 percent)."

Headlines like this tend to suggest that it is the individual employee's fault, when the research should tell you a different story. As business leaders, we owe it to our people to clear the impediments to them doing their best work. We also owe it to them to allow them to have a life outside of work.

We love all the latest gadgets. But they should get turned-off so people can engage with their family, friends and their surroundings. If people have clear objectives, the right information and can freely communicate with the right people in your organization, it will go a long way to creating a clear line between work time and personal time.

We're all connected by more than just technology. Burning people out because they are always-on hurts us all. When's the last time you almost saw an accident because someone was emailing/texting/phoning? When was the last time you saw someone ignoring their children because they were working late at night or picking them up from school?

Being able to work anywhere or anytime on important work is fantastic. Expecting your people to work all-the-time on things that might not be important, isn't.

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