How productive are your employees? Every company has their own way of measuring that – after all, employees are one of your most valuable resources. But in today’s world, where employees are working remotely and connected around the clock, and where the American economy is more focused on knowledge and creativity rather than physical production, measuring productivity is a bit more complicated than it used to be.
Traditionally, managers have used benchmarks such as how long an employee is at their desk, or how quickly they can complete specific tasks. But jobs that involve innovation call for different measures of productivity, writes Art Markman, Founding Director of the Human Dimensions of Organizations program at UT Austin. Tasks like coming up with new ideas “require many different modes of engagement.” For example, leaving the task for a while to do something else can allow ideas to percolate. Or reading about indirectly related areas can provide knowledge that will be ultimately be useful when applied creatively.
Markman says, “Activities that look unproductive (or at best tangentially relevant to a job) may actually be crucial for long-term success as an innovator. Measuring the time people spend on a particular task may not be a good guide to their ultimate success in finding innovative solutions to problems.”
Instead, managers should take a longer view of measuring outcomes that go beyond just completed tasks. It is particularly important that managers analyze what they are asking employees to do, and “understand the factors that are associated with success,” says Markman.
Mobility can be a tool to help with your organization shift its perspective about performance. Ridesharing can build and strengthen team work. Flexible scheduling and mobile work opportunities can become opportunities to clarify expectations and strengthen communications. Use of more active mobility options, even transit, may take a little longer in travel time, but options reduce stress and even promote brain creativity and productivity. Giving your employees choices about how they travel to work also empowers them and gives them ways to help your company as well your community address some really big challenges like congestion, the need to reduce our carbon footprint, and even saving money on the high costs of transportation infrastructure.
image via Creative Commons