A writer, Stephen Lynch, for the Business Insider cited an article that he read in the New York Times by Tony Schwartz, CEO of The Energy Project. Tony is the author of The Power of Full Engagement.
In the NYT article Tony states, “The way we’re working today isn’t working. Even if you’re lucky enough to have a job, you’re probably not very excited to get to the office in the morning, you don’t feel much appreciated while you’re there, you find it difficult to get your most important work accomplished amid all the distractions, and you don’t believe that what you’re doing makes much of a difference anyway. By the time you get home, you’re pretty much running on empty, and yet still answering emails until you fall asleep.”
Last year, Tony’s organization partnered with the Harvard Business Review to conduct a study of more than 12,000 “white-collar” employees across a broad range of companies and industries to find out which leadership practices increase employee energy and engagement.
The HBR study found that employees are vastly more energized, engaged and productive when the following 4 core needs are met.
1. Renewal Time
The more hours people work beyond 40 total hours, and the more continuously they work, the worse they feel, and the less engaged they become. Employees who take a break every 90 minutes report a 30% higher level of focus than those who take no breaks or who take just one break during the day. Those who take these frequent breaks also report a nearly 50% greater capacity to think creatively and a 46% higher level of health and well-being. Being encouraged by one’s supervisor to take regular breaks increases by nearly 100% people’s likelihood to stay with any given company, and also doubles their sense of health and well-being.
2. Feeling Valued
Feeling cared for by a direct supervisor has a more significant impact on people’s sense of trust and safety than any other behavior by a leader. Employees who say they work for supportive bosses are 1.3 times as likely to stay with the organization and are 67% more engaged.
3. Ability to Focus.
Unfortunately, only 20% of respondents said they were able to focus on one task at a time without being distracted or interrupted at work. Those who did have the space and freedom to focus without interruptions were 50% more engaged. The study found that employees have a deep desire for flexibility about where and when they work, and have far higher engagement levels when they have more choice. But many employers remain fearful that their employees won’t accomplish their work without constant oversight
4. Having a Core Purpose
Employees who derive meaning and significance from their work were more than 3 times as likely to stay with their organizations, the highest single impact of any variable in the survey. These employees who were aligned with the company Core Purpose also reported 1.7 times higher job satisfaction and they were 1.4 times more engaged at work.
• Ensure meetings run for less than 90 minutes
• Encourage people to get up out of their seats and walk around every 90 minutes
• Provide the opportunity for staff to take regular breaks, or even naps throughout the day
• Provide healthy, high quality food options on site
• Set clear after hours boundaries when people are not expected to answer emails and phone calls
• Provide guidelines as to how quickly people are expected to respond to emails, messages and phone calls during work hours.
• Create distraction free spaces for people to focus on their important tasks without interruption
Leaders need to set the example. The study showed that when the leaders themselves model a sustainable way of working, their employees are 55% more engaged, 53% more focused, and more likely to stay at the company.
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