Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at www.thevertexfighter.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

“How can we work smarter?”/ workplace morale

Mar. 19 “How can we work smarter?”: I cut out this article “How can we be more efficient at work, but not turn into workaholics?” by Craig and Marc Kielburger in the Globe and Mail Life section on Feb. 23, 2015.  The tips are good and I already know it like “work at your peak hours” which is the morning hours for me.  After lunch, my energy is not as high.  Here’s the article:

Craig and Marc Kielburger founded Free The Children and Me to We. Their biweekly Brain Storm column taps experts and readers for solutions to social issues.

Jullien Gordon is someone who many of us want to be. The self-described “recovering workaholic” is now a “high performer” with a successful career and a satisfying personal life.

“High performers work a lot smarter,” reads a recent LinkedIn post by Gordon – a popular motivational speaker and work-performance guru in Brooklyn, N.Y. Meanwhile, he says, “workaholics just work a lot.”

Neither of us can deny that we work a lot. Since our early 20s (or to be honest, our mid-teens) our passion for our work has often been all-consuming. And apparently we’re not alone. Health Canada reports that almost two-thirds of Canadians work more than 45 hours a week, and over half of us bring work home for an extra seven hours a week.

We’re both fortunate that our work gives us epic energy. But for others, being overloaded can mean less sleep, less energy and lower productivity. More hours working could also mean fewer hours with family and friends, and less time to be active and engaged citizens in our communities.

We’ve personally found that the growing trend toward “work-life integration” – creating social opportunities in the workplace like book clubs or yoga classes, and bringing family and friends along to help on work-related volunteer initiatives – has made us and our employees feel more balanced and happy.

Still, we’re intrigued by the state of uber-productivity that Gordon says defines “high performers” and how we can all get there. Gordon suggests starting with clearly defined goals and working hard in short, focused chunks. Now, we turn the subject over to the experts and to you.

This week’s question: What’s your best tip to be more efficient at work?

THE EXPERTS

Linda Duxbury, professor at the Sprott School of Business in Ottawa

“Spend your ‘peak’ work hours (a.m. hours for morning people, p.m. hours for nighthawks) working on priority tasks. Schedule e-mail and other communication separately, and stick to this schedule. Try not to let someone else’s priorities get in your way of getting work done.”

Tim Pychyl, author of Solving the Procrastination Puzzle

“Procrastination is the thief of time and the enemy of a productive work day. Don’t wait to be in the mood. Focus on doing, not feeling frustrated or afraid of the tasks ahead. Identify the next action for your highest priority project, then just get started for the next 10 minutes. Even a little progress fuels our motivation to continue, so you’re priming the pump to success!”

Dr. Elaine Chin, founder and chief medical officer at the Executive Health Centre in Toronto

“Your brain is the computer powering your performance. It needs fuel and rest. Every day eat three balanced meals. Sleep at least seven to eight hours each day. Unplug 15 minutes during the work day for quiet time, meditation or deep breathing.”
Every night before I go to bed, I make a to do list for the next day. This ensures that I do not have a slow start to my morning because I already have things I am planning on accomplishing.
Every night before I go to bed, I make a to do list for the next day.This ensures that I do not have a slow start to my morning because I already have things I am planning on accomplishin
Every night before I go to bed, I make a to do list for the next day. This ensures that I do not have a slow start to my morning because I already have things I am planning on accomplishing
 

 
May 6 "There is no one solution to improve workplace morale": I cut out this article by Craig and Marc Kielburger in the Globe and Mail on Nov. 7, 2014.

For some workers, planning the modern lunch break is tough. Do you go for a free gourmet meal in the office cafeteria or take your complimentary once-a-week massage? Visit the in-the-office life coach, or drop your car off for an on-site oil change? It’s not like you have anything else to do – the free concierge service is already taking care of your grocery list, dry cleaning and picking out flowers for your partner.

No, these work perks aren’t all just for executives at high-tech firms – though Google’s famous “campus” headquarters in California was described by The Internship star Owen Wilson as more “like a resort” than a workplace. It seems other employers are leaping on board the inventive benefits bandwagon, leaving the conventional health and dental plan looking positively paltry in comparison.

Still, how do you design a package of perks that optimizes morale and productivity, but isn’t open to abuse? When Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson recently announced that all company employees will be given unlimited vacation – emulating a similar policy at Netflix – he wisely added the caveat that it must not impede their work.

Some might argue that all the add-ons in the world aren’t as good as a simple pay raise. But workplace expert Bruce Shutan says “carefully crafted benefits” – the so-called “hidden paycheque” – can be worth 10 times the equivalent in cash. Then again, business psychologist Larina Kase told Enterpreneur.com that neither raises nor fancy perks are necessary, but rather “in a tight economy, what motivates employees are free things, such as being praised and receiving compassion.”

We’ve often thought that opportunities to give back – company-wide fundraisers, paid days off to volunteer or grants to employee-nominated causes – are great ways to boost workers’ pride in their workplace.

But maybe we Canadians don’t need much cheering – almost two-thirds of us love or like our jobs a lot, according to a survey for jobs site Monster.ca. Just don’t touch our vacation, because recruitment firm Hays found that three-quarters would refuse any new job offer with less holiday time than our current gig.

So should Canadian employers bring in the free vending machines and hire an in-house yoga instructor, or focus more on flexible work hours and paying for professional development courses? And is morale boosted more by a team bungee-jumping outing, an all-staff volunteer day or a wine bar next to the copy room?

This week’s question: If you owned a business, what kind of perks would you offer employees to improve morale and productivity?

THE EXPERTS

Alan Saks, professor of human resources management at the University of Toronto

“Universal perks will be welcomed by some but not all employees. If you want to improve job performance, design a recognition and reward system that links rewards to desired behaviours and performance outcomes.”

Dean Sockett, director of human resources at Keg Restaurants Ltd.

“Hire people with similar values as your company, then provide opportunities for them to show those values. When the work is done, show them a good time through special events to demonstrate your appreciation.”

Thomas O’Neill, director of the individual and team performance lab at the University of Calgary

“Allow employees the flexibility to work when and where they are most productive, which may not fit into the common 9 to 5 grind.”

 

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