PATHFINDER VUE-FILE SYSTEMS 30 Sherwood Lane, Unit 9 Fairfield, New Jersey

800.447.2322

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Incentivizing Employees and Boosting Productivity (#4 Includes Blueprint Storage Rack)

It’s obvious: most managers strive to eliminate the kinds of disruptions that cause their employees to lose productivity throughout the day. The trouble is, lost productivity rarely has one simple cause. When managers try a one-size-fits-all strategy to get more results from their team, they may often find that their efforts do more harm than good.

To create a workplace that supports your employees and drives them to be as productive as possible requires a multi-faceted approach. You’ll need everyone within your organization onboard in order to really get the ball moving—from the most senior members of your executive team to your most entry level employees. That said, here’s how to motivate your employees and make them more productive (#4 includes blueprint storage rack).

#1. Happier Employees Make Better Workers

A 2015 study revealed that happy employees do better work. In fact, happier participants were 12% more productive than the control group.[1] This most likely translates into not only more personal success but success for the business—aka more business growth.

Here’s the Assumption

Needless to say, some business leaders may feel that it’s just too expensive or challenging to incentivize employees to be more productive; of course, any employee would prefer to have more time off, added benefits, and higher pay—so they say.

The Truth

The truth is, incentivizing techniques, like paying employees more, actually drives companies’ revenue; just ask Waye Cascio, a University of Colorado, Denver management professor, who found that Costco is still more profitable than Sam’s Club even when employee wages are 40% higher.[2]

#2. The Number of Vacation Days May Not Matter  

Companies, like Kickstarter, learned that unlimited vacation policies work better in theory than in practice.[3]

Contrary to what some may think, employees weren’t keen on taking months off. In fact, when the decision on how much vacation to take was left up to employees, they’re more likely to consider the optics than whether or not they genuinely need a break from work; someone who takes a week of vacation every month clearly appears less dedicated to their job versus someone who takes one day a year.

Consider a Vacation Policy That Counters American Work Culture

The lack of vacation days taken shows that it’s not so much the number of days that are the issue but the American work culture—shaming employees if they dare call out. Ultimately, not have breaks from works leads to higher chances of burnout and a loss in productivity.

Combat this by having a common-sense vacation policy in place that encourages employees to take time away from work so that they can recharge and relax, returning back to the office fully ready to work.

#3. Free Coffee Doesn’t Mean Positive Work Culture

Higher-ups may believe that giving employees free food, drinks, or other amenities is crucial to creating the kind of work environment that employers are looking for and can excel at.

However, some companies have found the opposite to be true. Nextivia, in particular, discontinued their free snack program because rather than a nice perk, employees were unhappy when their favorite snacks are unavailable.[4] In this case, more perks—aka more free snacks—didn’t help creative a positive culture.

#4. Increasing Productivity in the Office Starts with a Blueprint Storage Rack

Telecommuting and home offices are big trends in many industries; workers often cite  autonomy as one of the big perks of working from home.

And it makes sense. Having the ability to design your own home office is certainly a plus, but an organized office space is often essential to getting tasks done on time and staying on top of the work load.

When it comes to sorting through large printed documents, there’s no better choice than a blueprint storage rack specially designed to make it easy to flip between documents and select the right one in a matter of seconds. With less time digging for that one file in your cluttered filing cabinet, you can increase your time efficiency and get more done.

#5. Employee Engagement Increases Productivity

Company culture is one of the most important factors when employees choose to leave a job.  But the truth is, over half of the US workforce is not engaged in their work.[5]

This most likely means a dip in productivity, as the more engaged your employees are, the more productive they’ll be. In fact, according to Harvard Business Review, highly engaged organizations have over one-fifth higher productivity (22%).[6]

Companies who don’t keep their employees engaged risk high turnover rates and, with that, more expenses in training employees—possibly as much as 16% of an employee’s hourly salary.[7]

Take Action to Increase Employee Engagement

At the end of the day, especially with millennials moving jobs almost every year, it is important for companies to keep their employees engaged, taking steps like being transparent and treating employees as business partners.[8]

Final Thoughts: Develop Your Workforce

The truth is, high-quality employees create high-quality work. You can identify which skills and general personality traits are most prevalent in your high-performing employers. Work with your human resources department to develop a recruiting plan that seeks out individuals with these skill sets. Making sure new employees are the right fit for your company, versus the best at their job, is an important part of building a strong team.

Consider Internal and External Hires

Many companies overlook their current staff when seeking to fill a new role or backfill a recently vacated position. A fresh outsider’s perspective is valuable, but employees who have been with the company for some time also have a uniquely valuable perspective. Evaluate both internal and external candidates with the same level of scrutiny to avoid creating negative perceptions among your existing employees.

Creating transparent career paths allows each worker to understand how high performance in their current position can lead to a better position in the future. Offering training, job shadowing, and/or other forms of personal development time, helps your employees understand how valuable they are to your company.

What It Comes Down To

Much of creating a company that supports productivity is about utilizing your resources wisely— whether that means designing a training program to better develop specific employee skills to installing a blueprint storage rack in each office.

Overall, letting your employees know just how valuable they are to the success of your organization, and demonstrating it appropriately via bonuses and a suitable benefits package will help incentivize your workforce and boost productivity.

What have you done to increase productivity at the office? How do you incentivize employees to stay on track and produce above-average work? Do you use a blueprint storage rack? Is there a productivity tip you’d like to share? Let us know by commenting in the comments section below.

Summary

  • It’s Simple: Happier employees are more productive
  • In fact, happier employees in the study were 12% more productive than the control
  • Employees need to bypass common misconceptions and take action to incentivize employees
  • One way is by increasing employee salary
  • Surprisingly, Costco which pays its employees more than Sam’s Club, was 40% more profitable disproving the myth that high employee salaries negatively affect company budget
  • Number of vacation days is irrelevant since American work culture shames employees for taking time off
  • Instead of focusing on number of days, consider creating a vacation policy that encourages employees to get out of the office and avoid burnout
  • Free food perks actually may hinder company culture, as was the case with Nextivia—consider using other ways to incentivize employees
  • Increase productivity in the office by installing a blueprint storage rack, which allows for easy storage
  • Employee engagement is an indicator whether employees may consider work elsewhere
  • Sadly, more than half of the American workforce reports to not be engaged with their jobs
  • Highly engaged companies were 22% more productive
  • Not taking steps to counter engagement rate may increase your turnover rate, which can be as much as 16% of an employee’s hourly pay
  • Use resources wisely and consider a blueprint storage rack to boost productivity in the office and allow employees to get more work completed
  • Seek internal and external hires to show and employees that they can move up in the company—another way to incentivize and increase work performance
  • Work with HR to develop a recruitment plan to attract and retain high performers
  • Get every level involved in not just company culture but increasing company productivity

Interested in increasing organization and productivity in the office? Want to decrease clutter?  For more information about a blueprint storage rack, feel free to contact Big Blueprint Hanger.

[1] Fortune: Study: Being happy at work really makes you more productive

[2] Inc.: How Paying Employees More Can Make You More Profitable

[3] Fast Company: Kickstarter Nixes Unlimited Vacation Time for Employees

[4] Entrepreneur: Why Perks Don’t Make a Company Culture

[5] Aon Media Center: Employee Engagement Declining Across the Globe

[6] Harvard Business Review: Employee Engagement Does More Than Boost Productivity

[7] Huffington Post: High Turnover Costs Way More Than You Think

[8] Inc.: 10 Best Ways to Keep Employees Happy, Engaged, and Motivated

13 Productivity Hacks for College Students to Stay Ahead (Blueprint Storage Rack is #12)

With the new school year here, college students are back to the books…and pulling the infamous all-nighters. In fact, surveys from Psychology 101 classes (which polled college students from several majors) revealed that 65 had pulled at least one all-nighter while 45 had not.[1] Consequently, the study showed that those who had pulled an all-nighter had a (slightly) lower GPA than those who didn’t While reasons other than the occasional all-nighter may factor in—such as poor note taking and not going to class—not sleeping before a test could inhibit students’ abilities to remember the information they studied the night before. To prevent college students from spending caffeinated, sleepless nights, we compiled 13 productivity hacks geared to help college students battle procrastination, reduce all-nighters, and succeed in school (#2 includes blueprint storage rack!).

  1. Leverage the “Do Not Disturb” Feature on Phones

Nearly all phones have a “do not disturb” option. This feature restricts notifications—like texts and calls—from showing up on the screen. College students who are hitting the books can decrease distractions and stay focus by leveraging this productivity hack. To use it, go to the phone settings, then “Do Not Disturb.” From there, students can select the setting options that best fits their study needs: Manual, Schedule, Allow Calls From, Repeat Calls…

  1. A Clean Study Space Matters

A Princeton University study revealed that objects in an individual’s line of vision compete for their attention, which hinders performance and increases stress.[2] College students can prevent this from happening by ensuring their study space stays clean and organized. This will allow students to study more effectively.

  1. Re-Think the All-Nighter

Contrary to popular belief, the infamous all-nighter associated with college finals may do more damage than good. According to Business Insider, students who pull an all-night may feel euphoric and a feeling of positivity. However, the overly optimistic dissipates quickly and, according to the researchers, could lead to risky behavior.[3]

The article goes on to state that getting little to no sleep wreaks havoc on the brain’s ability to retain memory. Meaning, all of that cramming and large quantities of caffeine may not be worth it. College students considering an all-nighter need to make the choice if an extra few hours of studying is worth the risks.

  1. Use Organization Apps and Calendars for Better Planning

From the Physics 101 exam next Monday to an in-class essay on Friday plus extra circulars, college students are juggling several commitments. To make it easier for them to keep track of and stay on top of them, students can use organization apps, such as Wunderlist, to prioritize what and when things need to get done. Students can also use Google Calendar or iCalendar[4] to sync their schedules to multiple devices. That way, whatever electronic device the student is using, he or she has quick access to it.

  1. Write It Down

A study involving Princeton and University of California students (300 plus) showed that students who took long form notes had better recall than those who typed them on laptops.[5]

The actual act of writing helps students retain information. Since manual writing takes longer than typing, students have to make the conscious decision of what to write down and what to leave out. To get the most out of class, students should stick to long form writing or at least alternate between typing and writing their notes. Still, students who prefer typing can study in other ways that involve writing—such as using notecards, creating charts to organize the information, etc.

  1. Just Start to Eliminate Procrastination

A 2007 study revealed that 80% to 95% of college students procrastinate, especially when it comes to course work.[6] To reduce these figures, students need to just start, even if it is for 15 minutes. Starting the school work is enough to break through that procrastination barrier. From doing this, that 15 minutes may turn into an hour, which may turn into a task complete.

  1. That Morning Break Counts

Those who believe that taking an early break is a sign of an unproductive day may be surprised by this research. A survey of 95 employees showed that taking a mid-morning break was more effective than a mid-afternoon one. This is because the break is early enough in the day where students still have energy. An early break recharges energy, performance, and concentration.[7] Which then allows for a better study session.

  1. Keep Computer Desktop Clean

Similar to a physical messy desk, scattered folders and images on computer desktops contribute to clutter. Students should re-organize desktop folders and images to help create a proactive, organizational mindset.

  1. Using the Pomodoro Technique for Studying

Contrary to popular belief, not all studying happens in one long burst. Breaking it into chunks may help decrease procrastination inclinations and improve focus. There are several ways students can do this. The Pomodoro Technique, one famous productivity hack we discussed in _______, uses 25-minute increments with 5-minute breaks in between to space out productivity.

  1. Leverage the 80/20 Rule

The 80/20 rule[8] uses the thinking that 20% of input is responsible for 80% of the results. Applying this principal to college, 20% of studying yields 80% of students’ academic performance. This makes sense, especially when we consider a study that shows that the average worker is only productive for roughly 3 hours (2 hours 53 minutes, to be exact) in a standard, 8-hour workday.[9]

While this is slightly more than 20%, it goes to show how much influence a small percentage of time has. To take advantage of that 20%, college students should consider allotting work and break times.

  1. Not Everyone’s Circadian Rhythm is the Same

Your circadian rhythm is a 24-hour internal clock that regulates when you are tired and alert. In other words, it is your sleep-wake cycle.[10] Thanks to it, you tend to wake up, go to bed, and feel energized around the same times every day. With most people working from 9 to 5, it may seem like everyone’s circadian rhythm is the same. However, if you notice people’s work and study patterns, that is not always the case.

Case in point: Night owls and morning risers. In fact, with enough time, you can trick your circadian rhythm, staying alert at times when other people are falling asleep. This may be why some students who pull all-nighters or study at night may actually do well on tests (however, it is not enough reason to start the habit). Still, it is worth tracking when students are at their most energized and when they feel the most tired. That way, using this information, students can schedule study sessions and study groups around their most energized times, getting the most from them.

  1. Use a Blueprint Storage Rack to Increase Organization

Students can save time looking for papers and study guides by utilizing a blueprint storage rack. Only taking up 24 inches of space, students can store thousands of documents in them—essays, tests, study guides, notes, you name it. Storing up to 60 hangers, students can easily thumb through documents and easily find what they are looking for.

  1. If Students Must Pull an All-Nighter

If college students need to pull an all-nighter, simply gulping 5 cups of coffee and hitting the books is not going to cut it. Since coffee is a diuretic, in taking multiple lattes can cause dehydration. Instead of drinking the brew, go for water instead. Also, take frequent short exercise breaks to increase blood flow.

Final Thoughts

Students can improve their productivity by using a number of these simple hacks. Using productive-friendly furniture, like the blueprint storage rack, keeps documents organized and easy to find. Allotting specific time periods for studying and breaks will increase focus and simply starting can help students avoid procrastination. Have other productivity hacks? Leave a comment!

Summary

  • Use the “Do Not Disturb” function on phones to prevent texts and calls from interrupting study sessions
  • Keep study spaces clean to help maintain focus
  • All-Nighters are associated with poor recall; consider re-thinking it
  • Wunderlist, Google Calendar, and iCalendar helps students stay on top of courses and extra circulars
  • Long form writing leads to better information retainment than typing on a laptop
  • Eliminate procrastination by just starting
  • A morning break is much more effective than a mid-afternoon one
  • Keep computer desktops clean to create a more organized mindset
  • Use the Pomodoro Technique to schedule work and break periods
  • The 80/20 principal states that 80% of outcomes are due to 20% of input
  • Track circadian rhythm to learn the most energized and unproductive periods of the day
  • Use a blueprint storage rack to organize documents
  • If an all-nighter is a must, opt for water instead of coffee and do small exercises to increase blood flow

Contact Big Blueprint Hanger to learn more about the blueprint storage rack.

[1] Fox News: Study: Students Who Pull All-Nighters Have Lower GPAs

[2] JNeurosci The Journal of Neuroscience: Interaction of Top-Down and Bottom-Up Mechanisms in Human Visual Cortex

[3] Business Insider: Infographic: How Much Damage All-Nighters Do to Your Body

[4] Huffington Post: Top 5 Productivity Hacks for Students

[5] US Today College: Staying on Track for Finals: Productivity Hacks That Work

[6] American Psychology Association: Procrastination or “Intentional Delay”?

[7] Business Insider: Here’s the best time to take a coffee break for maximum productivity

[8] The Balance: Understanding Pareto’s Principal: The 80-20 Rule

[9] Inc.: In an 8-Hour Day, the Average Worker is Productive for This Many Hours

[10] National Sleep Foundation: What Is Circadian Rhythm?