The productivity challenge that leaders face every day

Could naps increase productivity in the workplace?

Motivating people to improve personal productivity is a challenge that leaders face every day. There are many reasons that employees’ productivity slips. In this article, we examine three of these productivity challenges and ask if naps increase productivity.

Productivity challenge #1: Disengagement

Engaged employees have the potential to be your organization’s most potent weapon. Yet, according to Gallup, seven in 10 employees in the United States work below their full potential. And of these, almost 20% are actively disengaged.

Disengagement directly affects productivity. When people feel connected to the work they do, they are more productive. To improve connection, leaders must develop a sense of belonging in their people, helping them to connect their values with organizational purpose. If your people understand how their work makes a difference, they are more likely to be engaged with it – and their productivity will improve.

Productivity challenge #2: Too many meetings

The modern workplace is full of distractions: email, instant messages, the water cooler, social media, etc. Yet one of the biggest distractions that employees face is meetings.

Some employees suffer more than others. They are taken away from their work multiple times each day, with intervals of no more than 30 minutes between meetings. That’s not enough time to start a task, never mind complete it.

If you hear your people say that they feel like they have been busy but achieved nothing, often it is excessive meetings that are the cause.

Ensure that meetings are meaningful, motivating and productive. Ensure that any meeting held is essential, and that it is governed by a fixed agenda with expectations of action points. Send the agenda out a couple of days before the meeting, and ask for ideas and comments beforehand. You should find fewer meetings are needed and people are more motivated in them and after them.

Productivity challenge #3: Personal issues

Demotivation and the ensuing drop in productivity may be due to personal issues. This is when a culture of support shows its true worth. Leaders with high emotional intelligence are more able to identify subtle changes in their employees’ behaviors. They talk to their people, show empathy and understanding, and they provide a sympathetic shoulder to lean on rather than pushing people too hard.

Stress in an employee’s personal life affects their output at work. It blurs focus and stops people achieving their potential. Effective leaders check in with their employees regularly and encourage an open atmosphere in which people feel able to talk.

Burnout, naps, and productivity

All three of the productivity challenges mentioned can lead to either physical or mental burnout, or both:

  • Disengaged employees must force a mental state of engagement, or be pushed to work

  • Too many meetings destroy time, and this destruction of time places extra pressure on employees

  • The mental stress of personal problems overworks the brain

The result of such pressure and stress is often manifested in tiredness, and research shows that allowing employees to nap at work can boost productivity. According to the National Sleep Foundation, NASA found that a 40-minute nap improves performance by 40% and alertness by 34%.

Napping helps you to refocus and reduces stress. Your cognitive functions improve, and your creativeness explodes.

However, studies also show that long and irregular naps can cause sleep problems – and this will only serve to reduce focus and productivity during your working hours.

Increasingly, American organizations are strategizing for on-the-job naps. Google provides sleep pods for 10-minute naps. Other organizations that provide time for naps at work include PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ben & Jerry’s, Cisco, Nike, and Zappos.

In summary

Stress, both at work and out of work, poor culture, lack of connectivity, and poor work practices like too many meetings are challenges that demotivate employees and reduce personal productivity. Often, such problems develop into tiredness. In such cases, a nap may be the reboot that an employee needs to regain their focus and boost their productivity.

However, napping is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. It is crucial that leaders develop a range of strategies that promote an open culture in which people are willing to discuss their issues and address problems that may be causing them personal anxiety and reducing their level of engagement.

Managers who develop trust in a culture of support in which personal values align with the organization’s purpose are more likely to benefit from the employee engagement that ignites productivity.

To help your leaders and managers learn the strategies and techniques that will boost your organization’s performance, contact us today

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