Collaboration

TechRepublic members sound off on productivity issues

How can you ensure that your workers stay on task? Several TechRepublic members shared their suggestions recently. Here's a rundown of what they had to say.


Apparently, TechRepublic members aren’t too enthusiastic about having their managers come up with new ways to increase their productivity. A recent article that asked members to share their tips for getting more out of their workers earned only a 2.4 rating on our 5-point scale.

Still, several members—many of them managers—offered their suggestions despite the collective thumbs down. Here’s a look at what they had to say.

Motivated employees are productive workers
Vasudevan told us that productivity is a direct function of employee motivation. The way to keep workers motivated is to keep them busy with useful work.

Vasudevan suggested that it’s common for the same employee, who performs well under pressure and tight deadlines, to coast when the workload is low.

“In this sense, it is the organization's primary responsibility to keep the employees under some kind of pressure: setting deadlines, carrying out periodic reviews, and attaching incentive points to the outcome of these reviews.”

The member also contended that integrating performance appraisals with day-to-day activities yields better efforts from employees. “Even in colleges and universities, the students are known to put in more effort and learn more when they are subject to continuous assessments and surprise quizzes rather than when they have a few tests stretched over long periods.”

Foosball, anyone?
Steve Larson is IS Manager at Atlanta-based VerticalOne, a Web personalization service. He said he has discussions on personal and professional goals and projects with the employees under his charge. He recently used such a performance evaluation to clear up a misconception about a foosball-playing employee.

“One employee was perceived by coworkers as spending too much time at the company foosball table. We discussed it at one of his performance evaluation sessions,” Larson said. “When we realized that all his goals, projects, etc., were on track, we found no problem with the amount of time he spent playing foosball.”

Technology solutions
Responding to our assertion that a worker’s ability to surf the Internet can cause productivity to fall, several members suggested technology solutions to keep workers on task.

Andrew DiNisio, the IT pro at Lancaster, PA-based Beers, Schillaci & Hoffman Ltd. Architects, suggested that organizations consider using Microsoft Proxy Server, which allows administrators to specify which domains employees can visit.

Companies that offer Internet-filtering software also contacted us. After suggesting that her company’s Web-filtering software might help, Caroline Krytzer, a spokeswoman for Websense Inc., suggested that businesses follow the lead shown by several Fortune 500 companies and create acceptable policies for Internet use.

“Included as part of an employee manual and signed during employee training, this type of policy outlines in very clear terms what kind of Internet usage is permitted and the consequences for violating the rules.”

(For more information on guidelines for Internet use, download a list of several acceptable use policies.)

Treat employees as professionals
For Jan Kreie, IS Manager at Hutchinson, MN-based Goebel Fixture Company, the solution to ensuring worker productivity is simple: “I try to treat our employees like the professionals they are.

“There are times that their work schedules and careers interrupt their home and family life; there are times that the world interrupts the work environment. Dealing with those who can’t responsibly separate the two is the exception.”
What methods do you use to keep yourself on task? Send us your suggestions in an e-mail or start a discussion below.

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