These aren’t your grandfather’s offices… today’s workers aren’t bound by four walls and often the most productive and innovative work happens just as much in coffee shops and beaches, as it does in board rooms and corporate headquarters.
However, Millennial managers, and managers managing Millennials (say that five times fast), are missing out on big opportunities to capitalize on the inspired productivity of knowledge workers.
In this article we look at 4 Mistakes Millennial Managers Make as told by corporate and individual productivity trainer, TEDx speaker and Harvard Business Review contributor Maura Thomas.
1. Setting remote workers up for failure
More and more companies are choosing to employ virtual teams. The Nemertes Research Group estimates an 800 percent increase in virtual workers from 2008–2013 and 50 percent of managers in the U.S., UK and Germany are allowed to work remotely (Future HR Trends’ 2015 Report). Employees appreciate the time and flexibility and companies can increase productivity by having teams work around the clock, reduce costs and have an edge in the global market but, if done wrong, telecommuting can result in the complete opposite — failed projects and a huge waste of time and money.
50% of managers in US, UK and Germany are allowed to work remotely.
To improve the chances your digital nomads and remote workers succeed, plan carefully with employees and their supervisors before working from home or otherwise begins. Make sure the employee’s job is location independent, that they are self-motivated and are keen in managing distractions. The telecommuter will also need a proper technology infrastructure at their home office and know how to handle the tools. It is also important to communicate with the team to discuss how often “face-time” is needed to keep up morale and finally, discuss how the remote employee will be evaluated.
For further solutions on how to set remote workers up for success, read 3 Ways to Ace Remote Team Management.
2. Structuring open office plans for abundant distractions
According to Harvard Business Review research there are arguments and statistics both for, and against open office spaces. They can reduce square footage cost and lead to better collaboration and innovation, or conversely, lower concentration, motivation and cognitive functioning. The difference comes much in the implementation process.
Make sure you have natural lighting, small group spaces in addition to both loud and quiet spaces, desks on wheels so employees can move as their work mood dictates and glass walls. Also helpful, are soft furnishing to absorb noise, private spaces where people can take calls and strategically places room dividers.
It’s also important that employees have a secure, private space to store things they need. Most importantly, allow for feedback and suggestions in the planning process of office set up and communicate policies so the team is all on the same page.
3. Having junky or non-existent snacks in the office
One area where a company can see big returns from a small investment is in the area of energy and knowledge work. Underestimating the needs of your worker’s bodies and brains is a huge mistake. Catered meeting menus or an office kitchen can help battle the distractions of sugar roller coasters caused by an otherwise not-so-healthy vending machine. This seemingly small factor can have a huge impact on the concentration and performance of team members.
Ditching donuts and coffee for veggie trays, hummus, nuts, fruit, cheese or all-natural granola bars can help keep blood sugar on the level. Hydration is also key, so if you can also invest in a good water source and some natural teas instead of sodas, your office can support a healthy energy management track for your employees.
According to the International Labor Association, healthy sources of sustained energy for brainpower can improve productivity by up to 20 percent!
4. Making email your main platform
Is your team tethered to email? Have you unintentionally created a culture where employees must keep their email open at all times and respond to every message? This is not only distracting, it’s expensive. The average employee spends 40 percent of their work week dealing with internal email that adds no value to the business according to research by Atos Origin. Those interruptions cost the U.S. economy alone $997 billion per year.
The average employee spends 40 percent of their work week dealing with internal emails.
Neuroscience has shown that multitasking slows work and is counterproductive. Email is not only distracting, but it doesn’t allow for communication and collaboration on projects and tasks, offers no file management and is cumbersome to track conversations and due dates for work. According to researchers at MGI, project management software is still mostly untapped by businesses and if more companies used it, it could add $900 billion to $1.3 trillion in annual value across commercial sectors.
It’s time to take collaboration out of cryptic and convoluted email chains and into a tool that works. Sign up for your free trial of Taskworld now