When you look around your company, what impression do you get? Is the work floor filled with passionate employees actively engrossed in working on their various tasks and projects? Does the atmosphere crackle with electric buzz of an energized workforce exchanging ideas and collaborating to find solutions? Is there a tangible sense of positive energy? All too often, the picture that you will actually see is one of downtrodden or stressed-out employees, running fingers through their hair, chewing fingernails and staring blankly at their computer screens – waiting for inspiration and motivation to come from… somewhere. Their minds are anywhere but on their work. This workplace is defined by lethargy, boredom and mild desperation; it lacks passion and positivity. So, what’s going wrong?
The latter situation described above is one in which employees are motivated only by a stable job and monthly paycheck. Their roles are defined and the hours that they must spend at work are specified. They don’t have to think about what they do, they just come in and do it. Each one spends a significant portion of the day watching the second hand slowly ticking away, bringing them closer to the end of their shift: the time they can get on with real life: with whatever they consider important. This all comes back to the notorious work / life separation. When employees are at work, they are restricted from resolving any outstanding issues in the world outside. With typical shift patterns tending to occupy a large chunk of the day between 8am and 8pm, many employees are unable to deal with these issues until they have a day off. This means, they bring their problems to work, to act as distractions; productivity, passion and energy suffer.
Many business leaders have tried to use incentives to encourage workers to spend longer hours at their desks, in a bid to increase productivity. By creating targets and offering perks or prizes, employers hope to increase the passion and commitment of their employees. But cool bosses know that longer hours and bigger rewards are not the best way to increase productivity. Passion and energy are key. Employees will only feel passionate and energized if they are free to fully focus on their work and able to make a difference. There are two incredibly effective ways in which a good leader can enable their employees: giving them control over their schedules and allowing them to define their own roles, at least to some extent. Implementing policies to this effect will revitalize the workforce and help keep employees minds and hearts on their jobs.