Concept of employee engagement – why is it becoming subject to revision?

Employee engagement is an important factor in retaining top talent in your company’s
workforce. It is also important when it comes to recruiting skilled employees. The recent global recession had a negative impact on many businesses, with challenges when it came to human resources. Many companies were forced to downsize their staff. Now that the economy is recovering from the recession, businesses want to get back to “normal.” Research shows, however, that getting back to normal could be difficult.

Employee engamange

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Top 24 unproductive applications of 2014 and what that tells us

We recently pulled out the statistics of the most-used unproductive applications so far used in 2014. Some of the results are predictable, like social networks like Facebook and Youtube taking the top spots. Other results show us a change in working dynamic, for example, that Gmail is marked as a top unproductive app. Check out the rest:

Social media is dominating our work lives

Of the top 24 unproductive apps, 5 of those are social networking sites. Facebook, the undisputed leader of unproductive time spent at work, being by far the largest piece of the pie. Together, time spent on social networks accounts for about half of all of the unproductive time spent at work.

As social media takes an increasingly large role in our daily lives, it’s more relevant than ever that companies consider their policies on social media. One side of the debate maintains that time spent on social media is wasting company time, and therefore company money. Another side of the debate considers web surfing on social media as a necessary break throughout the day, saying that employees can’t be expected to be constantly engaged and productive for 8 hours straight.

It is not the presence of the technology itself that influences productivity but how it is used -Bulkey & Van Alstyne, 2004 

In this study by Bulkey and Van Atstyne, they conclude that using social media itself isn’t what’s unproductive, rather than the reasons for using it. For example, social media can be beneficial for sharing information, gathering knowledge, networking and communicating with customers.

Email is no longer considered productive

The fact that enough people have designated email as unproductive application is a telling sign. It used to be that being in your email was a symbol of productivity. And while it is a helpful tool for communication, and can at times be very productive, recent tendencies in the workplace are showing people’s addiction to email, constantly checking, etc.

However the latest productivity specialists suggest that constant email checking is a habit that decreases productivity, as it pulls you out of a certain task, and you’re not left with a long enough stretch of time to delve deeply into your work. A study by Altos Origin says 40% of employee time is spent working on internal emails alone. Productivity experts say that 80% of those emails are a waste of time, bringing no value to the company.

Suggestions and best case practices offer creating a habit to limit email checking time to a few times per day, and working on them in batch. Other suggestions suggest to avoid email first thing in the morning, and rather tackle the day’s most important task right off the bat.

Some research shows that those employees who use social media throughout the day produce the same amount of results as those who do not, due to the mental break that it allows, and the resulting spur of productivity that occurs from a rested mind.

Video-watching at work is a thing

According to a study, 64% of employees watch videos at work. Our collected data shows that within the top unproductive applications you’ll find Youtube, Netflix and Hulu. This brings video-watching at work to 23% of all wasted time.

Similar to the argument on social media usage, breaking and relaxation is a necessary part of the working day to rest the mind so that the employee is able to return to their work at a higher level of productivity.

Food for thought

The working climate around us is changing. It’s up to you how you manage your time and build habits. A manager or business owner will have to decide on the policy on social media, email communication and leisure time at work. Will it be

Employees want to have fun as well. Besides social media, top visited unproductive applications include sites that are just plain fun(ny), like 9gag, imgur, and even just a site to play puzzles and logic games. We can see that employees are looking for entertainment throughout the day.

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5 Reasons to Have Fine Art in the Workplace

Guest post by Andre Smith

For years, millions of employees and customers across the nation have been consigned to working in drab, uninteresting offices with painfully bare walls. Fortunately, times are changing: business owners are beginning to realize the tremendous benefits to decorating their workplaces with fine art. Last year, a study from the British Council for Offices found that over 90% of employees believe that featuring art prominently in the workplace boosts overall productivity, while 86% of those surveyed explicitly agreed that art is “more relevant than ever” in today’s office environment. While the reasons to display artwork in the office are endless, today we will be focusing on just five, as follows.

office_pic

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Problematic Employee Situations and Easy Solutions

procrastinating-man

Arguably the most important task for a company owner or manager is to make sure that work is getting done, and everyone’s moving in the same direction. Each employee is like a cog in a complex machinery, and everyone has to be doing their job to reach the common goal.

However all too often managers and owners alike run into the challenge of dealing with unmotivated employees not doing their jobs. That can range from not coming to work, taking leisurely lunch breaks, not clocking in or out, and ultimately cheating the system.

Fortunately, there are ways to deal with unmotivated employees, here we’ll go through the common problems, and what can be done to solve them through using DeskTime software. Of course, not all problems can be solved with software along, but this is a beginning to help identify the problem, and that’s the first step to learning to deal with the problem at a deeper level. (see our post on employee empowerment).

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Build a culture of high performance – start looking at your staff’s needs

This is a guest post from Christopher Austin from PeopleInsight.co.uk

Several years of practice and research have been devoted to improving performance management in companies worldwide. However, the conventional understanding of the performance review process is inefficient in the eyes of employees, managers, CEOs and company owners. Studies have shown that annual reviews are not helping increase employee engagement and performance; what really makes employees happy is the day-to-day process of offering feedback, leveraging talent and communicating expectations.

Employees

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New Feature! Cuztomizable Employee Time Table

Because not all employees work the same hours every day of the work week. Now you can customize your employees’ timetable to reflect their actual working day, even if it changes every day. 

What this really means:

You can now set a specific working time for any employee. Account admins and owners are able to set unique starting times and workday lengths to any individual employee. Whereas previously, it was only possible to set one working time for the entire company. This will lead to improved data accuracy in reports, with individual start times, employees working on later shifts aren’t marked as “late” simply because they begin work at a later time.

This is most beneficial for companies that have employees that work different shifts throughout the day

Setting up customized working time

Go to Settings -> Employees. Find the employee whose work time you would like to customise. Select “Edit”. The scroll down to the section “Customized Work Schedule” and choose “Edit”.

A new window will appear with a calendar, that will look like this:

This calendar will pop up, where you'll be able to create a customised schedule

This calendar will pop up, where you’ll be able to create a customised schedule

You’re able to change the working time for all days, or you can select, for example, every Friday of the month. Then you can alter the starting time and workday length for every day that you’ve selected.

Here you see every Friday has been selected. You can change working time for those, exclusively.

Here you see every Friday has been selected. You can change working time for those, exclusively.

Make sure to hit “Save”!

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New Feature – Archiving Employees to Pay Less and See More

Now account owners and administrators have it even easier – they can archive employees when there will be an extended period of absence, so that the company doesn’t have to pay for the employee while they’re away, and so that they don’t affect the company’s productivity statistics.

Archive employees when you know they’re coming back

Situations when you would wand to use the employee archiving function is when you have an employee that will have an extended period of absence, but you know that they’re coming back. Situations when you might want to archive an employee:

  • the employee has gone on maternity or paternity leave
  • the employee is going on a sabbatical
  • the employee is a contractor who works with your company periodically, but not constantly

You don’t pay for archived employees

When an employee is archived, they’re no longer part of the amount of employees you’re paying for monthly. This way your company can avoid paying for inactive employees.

Archiving employees

Archive employees to keep them out of your reports

The benefit of archiving employees (besides not having to pay for them) that you know won’t be showing up at work for a while, is that they won’t be constantly showing up in your reports as “absent”, and messing up your statistics. Their data will still show up in previous months when they had been active. At any point it’s possible to restore an archived employee. That can be done at the sample place the employee was archived – under “settings”->”employees”. Have any questions? Be sure to get in touch at support@desktime.com!

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Should I Stay or Should I Go? – Staying Late at The Office and How to Make it Work For You

This is a guest post from Rebecca Fox, a business graduate who enjoys writing about office life and productivity for Foxhall Business Centres.

late in office

It’s no great secret that the job market is more competitive now than it ever has been. Not only are there fewer jobs to go around, but there are more skilled workers with degrees, ambition and experience waiting in the wings to take those jobs. As such, many employees have started upping their game at work in order to create promotional opportunities for themselves or simply to secure their current jobs in the face of budget cuts, and younger, more qualified competition. One method being employed is to put in extra hours at work.

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5 easy ways to get more from your employees

When establishing your own business, one of the biggest challenges is cultivating an effective managerial style. Here are some techniques that you can implement to develop your managerial presence, while motivating your employees and improving productivity at the same time. 

Management

1. Create self-esteem incentives

If your employees feel appreciated and respected, they’ll be more motivated and are more likely to work efficiently. Build incentives that will impact your employees the most. That might be empowering and employees by putting them in charge of an important project or presentation, or giving them the opportunity to train in another department. As a result, your employees will feel that their skills, and themselves personally, are valued by the company and thus your workforce will be happier and more productive. 

2. Streamline expectations

When assigning a project, it’s important that there is a clear primary goal. If you add other minor goals to a project, that can often detract from your original purpose and reduce employee efficiency. By channeling the majority of employee effort on accomplishing your main goal, they’ll remain focused and will better understand the task at hand. As a result, your employees will deliver a better end product and will also have more time and energy to devote to the next important project. 

3. Define employee roles

Within a working environment, structure is key to success. Provide clear communication to your employees regarding what you expect them to do, and what they can expect other people to do. Therefore, your employees will work on their individual roles more competently, and will know who to turn to when they need information or help in a specific area. If all employees know their specific roles and aims, as well as those of others, then your company will have the effective structure necessary to make smooth progress. Moreover, it gives employees an opportunity to exercise responsibility and take pride in their specific roles. 

4. Use an internal communication system

Regardless of the scale of your business, it’s fundamental that you provide your team with adequate online communication tools such as instant messaging and project management resources. This will enable them to remain connected and informed immediately of any project updates or changes, no matter where they are located within the framework of your business. Internal Communication Systems are particularly popular within public services where communication is vital, such as the UK NHS where Premier Patient Line provide internal communications systems. 

5. Provide constructive and meaningful feedback on a regular basis

Feedback is fundamental to an effective management relationship with your employees. Aim to offer regular and helpful feedback to employees in a way that encourages them to work harder, rather than criticisms which are likely to reduce their motivation. Your feedback doesn’t always have to be positive, but is does always need to be constructive – working towards a goal. Always seek to encourage employees; if they have not achieved a goal, show them methods in which they could improve or assign them help, rather than simply berating them. This way, employees are more likely to come to you if they need help. Moreover, they are more likely to work productively if they feel their work is appreciated and held in high regard. 

AuthorThis article was written by George Campbell a freelance writer from Birmingham, England. George has been a teacher for four years and he loves writing about education but he is versatile and he also write across a variety of other topics. You can connect with George on Twitter and Google+.

 

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Private Time Reminders Have Arrived!

A common problem DeskTime users have is that when they put on “Private Time” mode (where no time is tracked or goes towards the working day), they forget to take it off. That lead to lots of time that was spent actually working was completely unaccounted for. 

You will never have the problem of lost working time again, thanks to the new Private Time feature.

You will automatically be reminded in 15 minutes that you’re still in Private Time.

This will pop up on your screen

This will pop up on your screen

That way, if you’ve forgotten, you simply uncheck Private Time, and get back to tracking all the work you’re doing. If you’re still using Private Time and don’t want to track your time, you can simply ignore the reminder. You’ll get another one in 15 minutes, and every 15 minutes after that.  

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