Walk, don't run!
I HAVE two clocks in every room and two on my workstation, which show different times - a difference of 5 minutes. You must have come across people like me who believe that by setting the clock ahead by a few minutes one can manage to be ahead of schedule! Believe it or not, the clock has saved me umpteen times by managing to get me well on time to important appointments. Today I am a slave to the clock. But this article is not about my clock fetish; it's more to do with my wishful thinking (like many others) that a day had more hours.
Employers do it all the time. It is a temptation for them to push their workforce harder, especially so in these economically taxing times. Why can't the sales people make more calls, is it mandatory to have a 5-day week, or worse still: why can't people put in more hours at work? The logic behind: perhaps if pushed employees can show better results, achieve higher productivity.
Or perhaps not. Ever since Frederick Winslow Taylor, a scientific management guru advocated the use of a stopwatch to time assembly line workers way back in 1800s, there's been a push to work faster. Job speed has become a bone of contention between workers and their employers. Many organisations believe whether rightly or otherwise that working faster is the quicker way to maximising productivity. This is especially true of manufacturing companies and production departments. Though employees may not protest initially, over a period of time it will get to them.
Most employers seem to forget that with the pressure on to `speed up things'; there is a greater margin for errors. Unchecked, a frantic approach becomes a recipe for despair and dissatisfaction. Companies have to first invest in infrastructure, tools and updated technology that will help workers work faster. Also the processes have to be made simpler as often employees end up doing work that is unnecessary or of least priority.
The employees should be brought into the picture too. Their opinion should be sought on the pace of the work, whether it will affect the quality of the product, or their personal safety. More often than not employees are better informed on how to increase productivity. The real challenge here is not managing time but keeping focus.
Sometimes your strategy of raising the pace of your work may backfire if you find out that in spite of your frantic speed your sales are falling. This is a sure sign of trouble.
Every company is looking to cut costs these days but instead of trying to unnecessarily speed up processes and putting employees at risk, have a perspective on pace.
Remember to walk and not run, when there is no need. Reward the employees for quality work done. Ask them to let the management know when they feel overwhelmed and outpaced by speed. With better technology there is no denying that pace has become a modern workday hazard and it is, regrettably, here to stay.
There will be more and more pressure on employees to show higher productivity at a faster rate. The focus should be on working smart instead of fast. Wise managements should help keep it that way!
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