A recent report 'What’s killing UK productivity', revealed a third (34%) of highly engaged employees spend up to 10 working hours every week on their personal social media accounts. The stat instantly rang alarm bells with me - if our staff with the highest amount of drive are wasting this much time while at work, how much more time are low engaged staff wasting?
The results for low engaged staff were however very different: only 11% of this group spent up to two hours on social media every day.
The report went onto reveal some further surprising facts:
- A fifth of highly engaged employees get into work late up to 50% of the time every month, compared to just 6% of low engaged employees
- 16% of highly engaged employees chat to colleagues on a personal level for two hours every day, compared to 4% of low engaged staff
Employees with low engagement will get into work on time, sit at their desks all day, only work in the office, and leave at the exact time stated in their contract; whereas a working day for highly engaged employees has much more fluidity.
So how do highly engaged employees do such a good job when they don’t seem to have their heads down at their desks all of the time? Nearly half of staff with high engagement said they take regular breaks at work because they believe it’s a good thing and makes them more focused when they do complete tasks.
The concluding findings are that a rigid working day can actually be very de-motivating, and staff who are able to self-govern and have autonomy in their roles achieve a much better output and much better results.
With this in mind, here are three reasons why giving staff more freedom could have a huge impact on your teams’ sales targets:
Let staff decide their working hours and they’ll work longer for you
As a nation we need to embrace change and say goodbye to the conventional working Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. These working hours don’t work for our generation anymore – most families now have two working parents who are juggling childcare drop offs and pickups, and advances in technology mean we’re contactable 24/7 and will continue working when we leave the office.
The research confirms that by giving more freedom on exact working hours, staff will end up working longer for you. Half of highly engaged employees get into work late up to 50% of the time every month, yet a third of this group also confirmed to work two hours overtime every day. In comparison only 18% of low engaged employees said they worked two hours extra a day.
My advice would be to review whether flexitime would work for your employees – more than likely the answer will be yes. As soon as you allow your staff to choose their working hours, it’ll make you, the employer, seem much more desirable to work for which in turn will make staff work harder – and longer – for you.
More breaks at work will make your team more focused
This might sound surprising, but it’s true. When reviewing the findings in the ‘What’s killing UK productivity’ report about what a highly engaged employees day looks like they are very rarely sat at their desks for more than an hour. These employees get up to make tea (41%), check their social media accounts for at least two hours (29%), and chat to colleagues on a personal level (30%) – all outside of their lunch break - every single day.
Half of these employees confirmed they perform personal tasks at work because they believe short and regular breaks are a good thing and make them work harder. Low engaged staff do not perform personal tasks as much as highly engaged people, yet those that do said it’s because they’re bored (17%) – it explains the difference.
So encourage the use of social media and don’t chastise employees if you overhear them booking their next holiday, this freedom will enable them to focus on the job in hand when they do sit down and in turn they’ll be more productive securing more sales.
Staff are more productive when they work at home
Working from home is still seen as ‘slacking’ in many employers’ eyes – nearly half of UK staff are not allowed to work from home. This figure is huge considering the amount of technology that is available to us.
Out of the employees that are allowed to work from home two fifths (39%) confirmed to be more productive compared to being in the office, and just fifteen percent said they are less productive.
Not surprisingly just over a third (38%) of low engaged employees are allowed to work from home, compared to two-thirds (66%) of highly engaged staff. Yet out of the low engaged employees that can work from home two-fifths (42%) said they’re more productive compared to being in the office, and just four-percent said they get distracted by things around the house.
Allow staff to work from home and not only will they be more productive, they’ll work longer hours – a quarter of highly engaged staff said they work over ten hours when they work at home.