How to deal with the ‘’big brother’’ feeling in the office?

monitor

That moment when you realize that the working day is almost over and you still haven’t done anything… It’s frustrating, we agree. And this is when that scary ‘’big brother’’ feeling may come up.

You know, the one which makes you think that your boss will come at your desk in a minute, and ask why did you spend 45 minutes on non-productive apps today. Facebook and Youtube, specifically.

If your company is using DeskTime, then you should know that it highlights only extreme cases. So, only if you are spending hours on non-productive apps regularly, or come to work late every day, it will be noticed. Still feeling uncomfortable with the time-tracking software on your desktop? We summarized a few tips that will hopefully help you to deal with that anxious feeling.

Track your own time

Unless you are really trying to do as less as possible and hope it will stay unnoticed, try to perceive the time tracking softwares, such as DeskTime and others, as tools that help you to improve your productivity. Rather than something your boss will use to spy on you. Because the main idea of DeskTime is to help you to understand where your time is going. So take the advantage of it!

Use the software for self-discipline

The truth is: some degree of surveillance in the office is necessary for productivity, as an experiment by two Dutch designers shows. It turns out that too much freedom and flexibility at the workplace can finally end up as a ‘’financial collapse’’. The experiment showed that given complete freedom, employees simply started to spend too much time on entertaining themselves, rather than working.

Put simply, as much as we don’t like to be monitored, it can actually help us boost the productivity. Self-monitoring with the help of DeskTime, on the other hand, sounds better.

ideas

Create your own zone of privacy

The paradox, however, lies in the fact that while broad visibility can indeed foster productivity, leaving the employees without any privacy can do a significant ‘’detriment to performance’’.

Ethan S. Bernstein in his study argues that when given the right degree of privacy, employees are more willing to cooperate, e.g., by sharing tips during the breaks or helping each other out. As a result, it may increase the employees’ productivity for 10 to 15 percent.

Thus, find your zone of privacy – step away from your computer, use paper and pen to write down and organize ideas, find a quiet place where you are not monitored, and do your job.

private_modeAnd if you have DeskTime, use the “private time” setting for this purpose. At any point you can turn on Private Time, and all of your time spent won’t be tracked. The best part? You can set your “Private Time” reminder to remind you to turn it back off – because when you do return to work, we want to make sure you get full credit for it!

So log out and take your time. Or a break.

Don’t feel bad about taking breaks

Our research showed that regular breaking is the habit of the most productive employees. You can read the whole story here, but the main idea is that taking a rest for 17 minutes, every 52 minutes, will help you become more productive. In other words, breaks are encouraged. So don’t feel bad about taking a rest, as both you and the company will benefit of that. At the end of the day, how much you’ve done will count, instead of how much time you spent on doing it. Most probably, your boss will agree with that.

With or without time-tracking softwares, you will probably be monitored at the workplace. That’s what managers do. The difference is that you can actually use apps like DeskTime for your own good. So why not to?

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Plus
  • RSS
  • Add to favorites
  • Email

Employee Efficiency 101: Productivity Through Motivation

As an employer, one of the ultimate concerns you’ll face on a daily basis is how productive your employees are at work. Office productivity directly influences your business’ profits, meaning that any measures taken to keep your staff motivated will make the company more productive as a whole. We’ve cracked the office productivity formula – and these are just some of the ways you can maximise your employees’ output.

OpenPlanOffice

Continue reading

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Plus
  • RSS
  • Add to favorites
  • Email

The secret of the 10% most productive people? Breaking!

Here at DeskTime, we did a study of the most productive employees to understand their habits and learn from them. Originally published on Daily Muse, the article took off and was republished by Mashable, Business Insider, Inc.com and Lifehacker. You have probably noticed it already, but here is the original and complete text of the study with even more useful tips to increase your productivity.

A person can’t be 100% productive all day. As much as you want to make the most of every minute, to get shit done, to hustle, it’s just not humanly possible. Concentration is like a muscle, it needs to rest to be able to function, and it shouldn’t be overworked, otherwise it’ll simply burn out and take longer to get back into the swing of things. For this reason even an employee working an 8 hour workday need to take breaks to stay productive.

There’s been much controversy over the nature of workplace productivity. While many employers associate an employee’s physical attendance in the office with productivity, the more modern school of thought practiced by people like Jason Fried of Basecamp (as he describes in his book Remote: Office Not Required), has a focus on work done rather than hours put in.

Regardless of what employers view as productive, we’ve been able to pinpoint the working flow that produces the most productive work, and it turns out that the key to workplace productivity is all about effective breaking. From attention span, to physical well-being, breaks have meaning to our productivity. It’s what the 10% most productive people have in common. This is what we found from our research:

The most productive people work for 52 minutes, then break for 17 minutes.

The employees with the highest productivity ratings in fact for the most part don’t even work 8 hour days. Turns out the secret to retaining the highest level of productivity over the span of a work day, is not working longer, but working smarter with frequent breaks.

In this article we’ll take a look at the statistics gathered from the top 10% most productive employees, as well as the theory of what makes it productive, and tips on how you can implement this in your own life.

How we got the stats

As a time-tracking, productivity app, DeskTime collects substantial amounts of daily computer-using behaviour (5.5 million logged records per day) . This gives us a ton of information that we can use to analyse the computer-use behaviour, through the spectrum of what the users themselves consider to be productive.

What we’ve done is isolated the top 10% most productive employees, and analysed their computer-use behaviour during one workday. The way we decided the most productive, is by taking the people who had the 10% highest ratio of use of “productive” applications for their line of work (each individual can have different apps they consider productive, ex. a marketer would indicate social platforms like Facebook as “productive”.)

The theory of productive working

The notion of productivity is the ability to be able to do more in a smaller amount of time.

The reason the 10% most productive employees are able to get the most done during the comparatively short periods of working time is that they’re treated as sprints, for which they’re well-rested. They make the most of the 52 working minutes, in other words, they work with purpose.

Working with purpose can also be called the 100% dedication theory. The notion that whatever you do, you do it full-out. Therefore, during the 52 minutes of work, you’re dedicated to accomplishing tasks, getting things done, making progress. Whereas during the 17 minutes of break, you’re completely removed from the work you’re doing – you’re entirely resting.

Making the most of your 52 working minutes

Lately the meaning of breaks towards the mental and physical productivity of an individual has been valued as incredibly important. Since concentration is like a muscle – it shouldn’t be overworked – then it only makes sense that a fully productive employee

Though by following this set pattern, you’re physically working less time, what you should be doing is entirely devoting yourself to working to your best capability during this time. This is called the 100% method. Whatever you do, dedicate yourself 100%. If you’re working, then work 100%. If you’re relaxing, relax 100% – none of this checking email every few minutes while you’re on break, and none of this “I’ll just quickly check Facebook” while you’re working. Others call this “purposeful” working.

Purposeful working isn’t a new notion – a similar and popular technique is The Pomodoro technique, created by an Italian philosopher who used a strict working/resting time to achieve more. They use the same strategy of working hard for 25 minutes, then breaking for 5. It’s a rigorous schedule, which is geared towards driving attention to short, deliverable tasks within 25 minutes, without succumbing to distractions, either coming from the outside, or self-inflicted.

The science behind breaks

The break of 17 minutes lets your mind, your attention span and your body rest so that when the 52 minutes of work begin, you’re entirely ready to knock off the tasks to be done.

This amount may seem high, but if you take a look at world class violinists, they become great by practicing in similar increments of time, because of the notion of deliberate practice.

Mind – Working for long periods of time can be detrimental to your level of engagement with the certain task or company in general. Repeating tasks lead to cognitive boredom, which in turn halts your ability to thrive at the task at hand.

Attention span – The human brain isn’t able to focus for 8 hours at a time. The best way to refresh attention span is to take a break, let your mind wander wherever it wants to, and allows you to return to a task and be able to be fully dedicated to it.

Body – The human body has never been made to sit for 8 hours straight, as many knowledge workers to these days. Research has shown that breaking up the all-day sit-a-thon can improves productivity – even if it’ simply by working standing.

There are numerous benefits to breaks with physical activity throughout the day. It impacts your eyesight, back pain, arthritis, stress levels, and even heart disease. Not to mention, getting up helps circulate blood, which gets more oxygen all around. Specifically your brain will thank you by waking up and being able to perform more competently.

What to do while you’re on break

You’ve got 17 minutes to take yourself out of the working zone. Coincidentally (or not..), if you look at the world’s professional musicians, they also take 15-20 minute breaks. Really, we’re reaching the level of the greats. We’re talking completely dedicating yourself to not working.

  • Some exercises - there are plenty of exercises you can do in the confines of an office. There are plenty apps available for this, one I’ve successfully used is called Fitster, it senses when you’ve been at the computer for a while and launches a desktop workout.
  • Take a walk - better yet, go outside. Not only will it clear your mind, you’ll get fresh air which means yay, oxygen to make your brain work better, plus you might catch some rays. Vitamin D makes for a better mood, which will only further stimulate your ability to concentrate.
  • Grab something to eat - replenish those energy levels. The best foods to eat to replenish glucose (good energy) are nuts, apples, pears, blueberries, cheese, fish meat, etc.
  • Talk to colleagues – research shows that employees who socialize are both happier at work, and are able to do as much as their non-socializing coworkers, who as a result spend more time working.
  • Surf social networks - because this is your time to do what you want. Make sure to take a moment to look away from the computer and gaze in the distance, to relieve your near-focused eyes.
  • Watch funny cat videos – it’s proven that looking at cute pictures of cats and dogs, you become more productive.

Conclusion – Making time for breaks will help you get more done

By taking the time to rest your brain and concentration muscle, stretching your legs, relieving your eyes, you’ll be doing not only your body and overall well-being a favour, but you’ll be in a position to create the best possible work. If your boss doesn’t agree, send them this link :)

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Plus
  • RSS
  • Add to favorites
  • Email

Methods for Becoming a More Productive Employee

According to Gallup employee research, only 13 percent of employees are invested in their work. The employee feedback survey also indicated that 63 percent of people are not at all engaged or motivated in their work. With only 24 percent of employees reporting being actively engaged in their work, it’s no wonder why employees are very concerned about employee productivity.

What are the top reasons people enjoy their jobs?

Employees who enjoy their jobs often report in employee surveys liking their co-workers. People who love their jobs report a high degree of autonomy and flexibility in their roles. Individuals who enjoy the culture and the work environment are more likely to have job satisfaction. Job variety is another commonly cited reason why people report enjoying their job. Employees thrive in environments where they are being adequately challenged.

Job satisfaction and employee productivity

Employees who feel satisfied with their jobs are more productive in general. According to an article called the “Current Directions in Psychological Science” published in the Association for Psychological Science, employees need several things in order to feel more engaged in their positions. Autonomy, variety, growth, social support and feedback are all essential in improving employee performance. In satisfying these basic needs, employees can be much more effective and engaged.

Getting and opinion

Management can create more productive employees by meeting the basic social needs. Managers may take it a step further and use an employee feedback survey as something of a barometer to assess employee satisfaction. Conducting employee research, focusing on areas like benefits, recognition and supervisor feedback can all be instrumental in improving work conditions that promote productivity. Many employees make the mistake of not tracking job satisfaction. Having access to key data made available through employee surveys improve the company’s ability implement the right incentives and measures that can increase job satisfaction. 

Companies must be capable of meeting basic needs. Employees can be much more engaged with the right balance of autonomy, employee recognition, feedback, challenge and social support. In measuring key indicators tied to employee performance and job satisfaction, employers can dramatically increase productivity with their employees.

For more information on how to become a happier, more productive employee, please view our inforgraphic, “5 Key Factors That Affect Your Employees’ Productivity.”

Infographic-5-Key-Factors-That-Affect-Your-Employees-Productivity

Shelly Duell has been writing since she can remember, and blogging professionally for the past five years. The National Business Research Institute (NBRI) is the world’s leadin business research and consulting firms for companies that are commited to quickly achieving and sustaining their full potential. To learn more about this research institute, please visit their site at http://www.nbrii.com/about/

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Plus
  • RSS
  • Add to favorites
  • Email

Is Your Productivity Stifled Because You’re Working TOO Much?!

i_heart_my_job

If you want to be successful in your career, you have to take your job seriously. While other people try to get by with minimal effort, you need to do the dirty work required to make your way to the top. It should be no surprise to you that hard work is a requirement.

What may be surprising, however, is that too much work can often be counterproductive. In fact, it’s a good idea to take a break at some point during the day to keep your mind sharp.

Burning out really does happen, and if you give yourself some time to step away from your work, you’ll be able to come back with a better perspective.

Continue reading

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Plus
  • RSS
  • Add to favorites
  • Email

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

Continue reading

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Plus
  • RSS
  • Add to favorites
  • Email

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.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Plus
  • RSS
  • Add to favorites
  • Email

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

Continue reading

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Plus
  • RSS
  • Add to favorites
  • Email

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).

Continue reading

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Plus
  • RSS
  • Add to favorites
  • Email

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

Continue reading

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Plus
  • RSS
  • Add to favorites
  • Email