By Jeri Denniston, Chief Marketing Strategist, Denner Group International
A friend shared a link to a survey about workplace productivity killers, posted on The Employer Handbook, published by Eric B. Meyer, Esquire. The survey pointed out that web surfing and social media were considered two of the top culprits after cell phones and texting and gossip.
This kind of snapshot view is limiting in my estimation and can be misinterpreted. Social media isn’t the root cause of lack of employee productivity. Yes, some employees do dumb things that waste time. I would say those that do probably work in an environment or a job where they have few personal freedoms or little flexibility. Or they’re under-utilized or simply in the wrong job and bored.
So much of it depends on the company culture and the company size. Early in my career, when I joined a target marketing technology company, they had 70+ employees and were housed in a 2 story building in an Encinitas, CA office park. The downstairs was mostly empty and the employees used it to toss basketballs and footballs back and forth to relax. Many rode their bikes to work and into the building. That was just outside my office. Upper management was fine with that because the company was growing at 30% a year and there was plenty of work for everyone. That changed as the company continued to grow, and the empty spaces became offices and cubicles. Then, as the company was being sold to a large credit bureau over a 3-year period, the culture changed from a fun, flexible work environment with a shared vision, to a strict, highly structured, and back-stabbing climate. The workplace culture changed from trust and collaboration to suspicion and fear of job-loss. Revenues decreased and layoffs started as the company spiraled downward, eventually to be sold off and folded into what is today Nielsen Claritas.
Infusionsoft – a good example of positive company culture
Infusionsoft’s offices in Chandler have an indoor football field (check out the pics on Google), basketball hoops, a weight room, a cereal bar (over 100 brands), and a special coffee room. They encourage employees to work off stress playing football and other games. Instead of a cafeteria, the lunch area includes a cereal bar (over 100 brands) and a coffee room. It’s a very cool workspace which now houses nearly 450 employees. The culture is inclusive and built on trust. So, are the employees unproductive when they play football? Are they unproductive when they tweet and post on Facebook and LinkedIn? I don’t think so, since the company continues to grow, improve its product line, and deliver excellent customer service.
So when I see surveys like the one my friend shared, I view them as superficial. There’s a larger story behind them. I would be interested to learn your thoughts on this.