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Thoughts on productivity

(Written the other day at home.)

It seems to me, from observing how humans respond to certain stimuli over the years, that there are a few ways one could increase productivity, ways that would work a lot better than the idiot crap they try now. My suggestions are:

1. Increase number and/or length of breaks.

2. Give the workers some kind of reward system, even if the reward is something abstract like verbal praise. People have been trained, in our school systems, to expect feedback on their work, which includes praise on a job well done, on improvements to their performance, etc. Most work places I've been in don't have anything at all like that; most, if they have any feedback at all, is all negative feedback.

3. In jobs where workers are stationary, especially if they're at a desk all day long, they need exercise breaks. I hate to say it, but a little exercise now and then, even if it's just walking, is a great boost to productivity. The mind and the body are connected, and stimulating one can - and often does - work on the other. Myself, if I'm feeling stuck, I pace around the room thinking aloud, or go out on a walk. Movement stimulates the brain. And if good health is a side effect of that, all the better!

4. Stop treating humans like machines. Humans are not machines. You cannot treat a human like a machine and reasonably expect them to respond well to this treatment.

5. If possible, make the job fun.

6. If conversation between workers won't affect the immediate job (like it would at a call center, or a job where you have to pay attention to prevent accidents), then don't discourage it. Most people seem to find a little chit-chat helps pass the time with repetitive tasks, and boring jobs go by more smoothly. (Weirdos like me being the exceptions to this rule.)

7. Happier workers = more productive workers. Boredom, frustration, anger, and other negative emotions makes it hard to focus on the job, cuts down on motivation to do the job, and reduces one's energy. Happy workers are more energetic, more focused, and more motivated to do a good job. Also, jobs where a worker is unhappy result in more of a temptation to call in sick; if you hate your job, there's more reason to try to avoid it. If you love your job, there are instead more reasons to want to go.

8. Healthy workers are happier workers, and thus more productive workers. Spending money on health care for your employees is an investment sure to pay off, if you do it right. And following the other advice for happier workers will also increase their health, resulting in fewer claims on the insurance.

9. Take a trouble-shooting approach toward discipline. Work WITH the employee to find ways for them to improve, figure out if there's something at home they're willing to talk about that's affecting their performance. Try not to make it feel like every trip to your office carries the risk of termination; being friendly with workers will do more to encourage hard work and productivity than beligerance or constant negative feedback. Employees treated well like this will tend to be more apt to try to impress you by working harder.

10. Take into account that not everybody can do the same workload. Even among able persons. Also keep in mind that not everyone who is disabled or differently abled has proof of it, and some may not even know themselves why they can't keep up with other workers. Myself, it took me about a decade to figure out that my constant depression was having physical effects on me that affected my ability to work.

This was cross-posted from http://fayanora.dreamwidth.org/1081627.html
You can comment either here or there.

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