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Increasing Productivity

Fighting Sleep Is A Losing Management Strategy. Let Your Employees Take Naps

An exhausted employee who naps is unproductive for a few minutes. One who doesn’t nap is unproductive all day.

Heather Huhman

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When we hear “naptime,” most of us think of small children who are lucky enough to have sleep scheduled into their day. At some point, these naps stop being scheduled, and it becomes taboo to get rest throughout the day.

Unfortunately, this stigma attached to catching some much-needed zzz’s throughout the day is hurting employees’ productivity, motivation and their ability to perform everyday tasks. In fact, according to “The Cost of Working Tired,” a report by Accountemps, 77 percent of men and 71 percent of women admit to often working while tired.

Jason Cummins, owner of All Hours Air, a 24-hour heating and air conditioning company headquartered in Sparks, Nev., witnessed first-hand what extreme tiredness can do to employees.

“I had an engineer once who always came in late to work because he had insomnia. I knew it was affecting his work because he got simple instructions wrong and didn’t produce much in the office,” Cummins told me via email.

Cummins jumped at the opportunity to help by changing his employee’s schedule to a time when he was feeling more productive and awake. Even the best employees can fall victim to becoming overly tired and worn out.

Related: Your Crazy Erratic Sleep Routine Is Making You Less Productive

Here’s how leaders can encourage them to have a snooze and increase productivity:

Have a nap room

google nap room

Google Zurich – nap room

A lack of sleep can make people do some funny – and not so funny – things. The Accutemps report found 52 percent of employees feel distracted and unable to focus when tired at work, which causes employees to make mistakes they wouldn’t normally make.

Michael Steinitz, executive director for Accountemps, a temporary accounting and finance hiring resource headquartered in Menlo Park, Calif., witnessed what sleep deprivation can do when his company surveyed professionals.

“One person admitted to deleting a project that took 1,000 hours to put together and another missed a decimal point on an estimated payment, causing the client to overpay by $1 million,” Steinitz shared with me in an email.

To help prevent employees from making these errors, Steinitz suggests encouraging employees to take breaks – and don’t forget to lead by example.

“Some professionals and management may choose to forgo breaks to get their work done. But remind staff that a tired employee isn’t an effective or productive one. Everyone needs an occasional break to recharge,” he said.

Make rest and relaxation part of the company’s corporate culture by adding napping areas or rooms. Explain to your team that to stay productive it’s crucial they take breaks and close their eyes, even if only for a few minutes. Encourage team members to bring in their own blankets and pillows to make them even more comfortable when cozying up for a midday snooze.

Educate employees

“A company’s employees are its greatest strength – especially their health and happiness,” Michael Susi, the global wellness manager at LinkedIn from San Francisco told me via email.

That’s why Susi and LinkedIn have committed to making sleep their wellness focus for 2017. To kick it all off, the company held its first annual sleep fair in New York.

“The goal of the event was to educate employees on the importance of sleep and share advice on how to get a good night’s rest,” Susi explained.

LinkedIn’s programme included a sleep ambassador teaching employees the best techniques for making a bed in order to get the most comfortable sleep.

Related: 10 Ways To Make Money While You Sleep

While some employers don’t have the resources to hold large events, there are other effective ways to keep employees informed about healthy sleep habits. For example, Optimity, a corporate wellness company, equips their team with a fully loaded library of content on better sleep.

“We focus on building small habits that improve the quality and consistency of your sleep patterns. The most popular ones are educational about good sleep hygiene and action focused about habit-hacking your way into more consistent practices that synchronizes your circadian rhythm to maximise your sleep cycles,” Jane Wang, CEO of Optimity located in San Francisco, told me via email.

Whether holding a large event or giving employees educational tips throughout the year, it’s important to remain proactive in their efforts to find healthy sleep patterns. For LinkedIn’s sleep fair attendees, this motivation came in the form of analog clocks to encourage disconnection from their digital devices at night and maximise their rest.

Also, try inspiring team members to take care of themselves by bringing in sleep experts, offering fun cooking classes with recipes that enhance sleep or host a team bonding where employees create their own aroma therapies.

Be observant

sleeping-patterns

When employees are making mistakes – especially costly ones – it can be difficult to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. But that’s exactly what Mike Seidle, co-founder of WorkHere, a job search app located in Indianapolis, did when one team member was making multiple mistakes.

“After sitting down with the employee, we discovered he was having problems with medication and got him to see his doctor to get it fixed,” Seidle said to me in an email.

“About the worse thing you can do with tired employees is assume it’s just not getting enough sleep. It’s amazing the answers you get when you say, ‘You’ve looked really tired the last few days, is everything OK?’”

Take on the responsibility of employees’ health and sleep issues. Start by asking how they’re doing if they seem off or are making more mistakes than usual. Let them know they’re supported and not being judged or reprimanded.

Once an employee opens up, give them time to catch up on their sleep or see a doctor. Offer flexible working hours, the opportunity to work remotely or the option to catch up on work over the weekend.

Related: Sleep Your Way to Success

Be flexible with new parents

Naptime is important for newborns, and it’s necessary for moms and dads as well. Just because parental leave has ended, doesn’t mean the struggles of being a new parent have.

Joanna Douglas, owner of Clean Affinity Cleaning Service, a cleaning service agency located in Portland, Ore., recognised this when a new mom returned to work.

“I had an employee once who came into work after maternity leave and found it hard to work because her baby kept her up all night,” Douglas told me via email. “I gave her a schedule that allowed her to get eight hours of work, and also go home, rest and take care of her baby at the end of the day.”

When a team member returns from parental leave, take them aside to show that leaders understand their current situation and are willing to help them get back to work. Allow them to take more control of their own schedules. This could range from letting them go home during the day to nap, to taking breaks throughout the day to get some shuteye.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle.

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Increasing Productivity

How To Build Organisational Wealth Through Increased Efficiency

Using the right business systems can allow your staff to become more efficient through best-practices and better process flows.

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As your business grows, the demands of running and managing all its parts increase. Fortunately, technology can help you standardise, streamline and adapt your operations in order to meet these increased demands. Let’s have a look at some of the ways in which you can increase efficiency to build your organisational wealth.

Integrated business units

It can be difficult to get a holistic view of what is going on in your business if information is floating between different departments and/or locations. Manually pulling data together can be very time consuming, causing delays and leaving greater room for human error.

Related: How To Improve Your Business Productivity And Efficiency With Help From Tech

By implementing an integrated business management solution, you can significantly increase efficiency among all your business units, allowing departments to easily share and access information. This real-time, inter-departmental integration allows you to get a birds-eye view of the performance of your business at the click of a button.

Business process automation

You can significantly save time by automating key business processes with an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. Accounting, for example, is much easier when details of all transactions are quickly and automatically shared between departments (no need to manually upload or download information).

Automation will enable your teams to respond to customer enquiries with alacrity and maintain optimal stock levels. Through automatic alerts and responses, relevant managers will be notified when stock reaches predetermined minimum levels. When these levels are reached, purchase orders for replenishment stock are automatically generated.

Automation also enforces consistency in your business’s day to day operations by following local and industry best-practices built into the system.

Synchronised customer data

The success of any small to medium sized business depends on getting new customers and providing excellent products and services to existing customers. Collating and sharing customer data across all departments is essential for effective customer service. SAP Business One, for example, provides the tools to track and manage the entire sales process, from initial contact and invoicing through to project management and after sales support – playing a pivotal role in customer retention management.

This complete view of past, present and prospective customers, along with historic purchases will help you to better understand your customers’ needs, behaviours and preferences. This will enable you to respond to clients effectively in order to boost satisfaction levels, increase sales, maximise profits and ultimately promote client retention. In addition, your marketing team can better plan campaigns based on insights from accurate data about prospective and current customers.

Related: 101 Efficiency Hacks For Busy Entrepreneurs

Instant access to information

You have to be able to plan properly to stay ahead of your competitors. Having access to up to date, relevant and accurate business data removes the guesswork and empowers employees to make informed business decisions. With an integrated business management system, you will be able to better manage your cash flow and stock holding with a real-time overview of current stock levels, orders in process and outstanding payments. This, in turn, will save time and allow you to better manage your procurement process and help build organisational wealth.

Who doesn’t like it when a plan comes together and things are working well? Working smarter and better – not harder – is what increased efficiency is about. Your teams will share the benefits of increased efficiency as you grow your organisational wealth together.

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Increasing Productivity

Mi Casa Es Su Casa: Achieving Positive Corporate Culture

How to achieve positive corporate culture in a group company.

Greg Morris

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According to management consultant Peter Drucker: ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast’. And there’s a good chance of this being true, especially since studies have shown a direct correlation between a strong, positive organisational culture and a business’s financial success.

The importance of culture

Prof JL Heskett writes in his 2011 book, The Culture Cycle, that a positive culture can make as much as a 20-30% difference in company performance, when compared with “culturally unremarkable” opponents.

Culture is also a form of protection – strong competitors may be able to copy a strategy, but can’t duplicate a culture. Indeed, when things go wrong in the economy, public opinion, or even the strategy itself, a company’s culture can serve as a safeguard against these, because employees are faithful to it.

But… while culture is a remarkable thing, it’s difficult to define and attain.

Related: A Culture Of Discipline Critical For SMMEs To Thrive

The definition of culture

Company culture is traditionally interpreted from a corporate perspective, to include the principles, opinions, basic assumptions, and mindsets that are shared by a group. But these don’t hold any value if they aren’t entrenched in a company’s processes. This is why culture is also about action.

A company can’t create an intelligible culture without people who a) agree with its core values or b) are prepared to commit the time needed to.

Further, those employees who succeed in a company are generally those who most closely associate with the culture. If the principles and ideals of an organisation are shared, a strong culture can even support recruitment through self-selection.

As a result, leaders should spend as much time determining, collaborating on, and communicating culture as they do on strategy.

Culture in a group company

With different and broad-ranging companies working together, the goal of building and sustaining culture in a holding company can be trickier than in other organisations.

In cases like this, it’s critical for every company in the group to hold onto its own distinct culture, in ways that fit the greater business.

Simultaneously, the parent company should create a culture for all of the holding companies to attach to. Because, without a uniting mechanism, real integration can be difficult to accomplish.

The problem is: which culture is the priority? The composition of a group company evolves as it acquires and sells different companies, so a root culture is necessary; one that current and new subsidiary cultures can buy into.

Related: The 7 Culture Pillars That Will Skyrocket Your Start-up To Success

Where to start

  1. Develop a set of principles, behaviours, and motivators for culture, and define what these mean practically.
  2. Write a positioning statement to share what the organisation stands for, both externally and internally. For example, Google’s is “organising the world’s information and making it universally accessible and useful”.
  3. Generate a motto that summarises your culture. Google’s is: “Don’t be evil.” In other words: do positive things for the world, even if it means letting go of some short-term wins.
  4. Communicate these messages widely and repeat them continuously. (As obvious as this sounds, many group companies make the mistake of not communicating values to subsidiaries.)
  5. Invest time and resources into smoothing out the cultural differences every time a new company is acquired. This is important because an implosion of combined cultures can cost valuable talent, customers, or worse.
  6. Teach the culture. Not just through induction programmes for new employees, but through ongoing events, reminders, collaborations, and other ways that remind people what the culture looks and feels like.
  7. Share and ingrain the group’s root culture, as an element of unity.

The heart of the matter?

Peter Drucker highlights a potent triad in organisational transformation: Strategy, capabilities, and culture. He says that all three must be created together, aligned, and designed to be supportive of one another. This is more complex in group companies but, with strong communication and high levels of collaboration, a clear and productive culture is possible.

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Increasing Productivity

Why Deadlines Aren’t As Great As You’d Think For Creative Work

Be careful about how much time pressure you put on yourself.

Nina Zipkin

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Do you ever find yourself staring down at a deadline and just freeze? There is something to be said for setting a schedule for yourself and following through, especially when you are first starting a business, but recent research from Harvard finds that when you are dealing with creative pursuits, you need to give yourself enough time to breathe, otherwise you’ll just be doing busy work instead of actually building something that is truly innovative.

In an interview with Harvard Business Review’s Working Knowledge podcast, Professor Teresa Amabile said that during a hectic day, it’s possible to get a mistaken sense of creative energy powered by adrenaline simply because things were being crossed off a checklist.

“People who are under a lot of time pressure on a given day, actually feel very productive, they tend to feel very creative,” she said.

“But, here’s the interesting thing; they were actually significantly less likely to come up with creative ideas, or solve problems creatively on those days. They got a lot of stuff done, but they weren’t necessarily creative.”

Related: Follow These 8 Steps To Stay Focused And Reach Your Goals

She noted that in her research, people came up with the most creative solutions when they were working under low to moderate time pressure. So the next time you think about imposing an arbitrary deadline on developing new ideas, you might want to go easier on yourself.

Because feeling like you’re on a treadmill doesn’t only make your thinking more fractured, Amabile says that it also makes it tougher to find meaning in your work. So what can managers do to make sure that their employees always have time to innovate? Start with providing spaces where they can be quiet, focused and away from distractions.

“Let them understand the importance of what they’re doing, their own individual actions, and how that translates into something that will contribute to a customer need, to a societal need, to something that the company really needs to move forward,” Amabile said.

“Try to give people enough time for projects so that they can explore, so they can do that background research to get the information they need, and then so they can play with it somewhat. That doesn’t mean indefinite time frames, but it probably means longer time frames than people are usually given in most companies for most projects.”

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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