What is the biggest productivity challenge small business owners and leaders must solve this year? Presenteeism. This newly coined term means there's a body in the building, but the mind is elsewhere. For a variety of reasons, your talented employees are showing up at the worksite, but they aren't producing results. Here are 3 ways you can win the fight against presenteeism in your small business.
It's been reported that presenteeism accounts for 80 percent of lost productivity and costs organizations in the United States more than $105 billion a year. Clearly it's a problem to have a group of employees who aren't working, even though they're "on" the job.
Some claim the average worker wastes more than two hours each day-that's a 10-hour loss per employee each week! So if employees are at work, but aren't working, what exactly are they doing? Well, they're on the Internet, zoning out, chatting with colleagues, or reorganizing their desk.
As a leader or manager in a small business you can win the war against presenteeism. Consider implementing the following 3 changes to permanently solve the presenteeism challenge.
Reward for results, not time.
When you shift to rewarding people for the results they produce, instead of the time they put in, presenteeism will decrease. By giving employees control over how long they work, they will become more productive, work more efficiently, and finish their job quickly so they can leave and get on with their lives. They will stop wasting time at the office on Facebook, spending extra time in the breakroom, or taking an extra long lunch.
Provide unlimited paid time off.
Many people come to work when they shouldn't-they're sick, dealing with a serious family issue, or just having a bad day. Their mind isn't focused on work, they are only operating at a fraction of their normal capacity, and they are more prone to mistakes. However, they felt they had to come in-they didn't have a sick day, any paid time off, and they didn't want to take a vacation day.
Another way to solve the presenteeism challenge is to offer all employees unlimited time off. If you've implemented the first suggestion, the focus in your business has shifted from time put in to results produced. If your employee need a day off they can take one. As long as they're getting their job done, they control their time.
When you provide unlimited paid time off, if an employee is sick, dealing with a family crisis, or feels burned out, they can take a day or two for themselves, no questions asked. As long as results are accomplished in a timely manner, there's no need to force employees to show up for a day of work when their mind is elsewhere. Let them save work for a day when they know they can focus and be productive.
Talk with your employees about their job on a regular basis.
Don't wait until the end of the year performance review. Talk about how things are going, which aspects of their job are working, which aren't, and provide feedback about the results they are producing. Involve your employees in decisions regarding how their job will be conducted, who they'll work with, and which activities are required.
Research has shown that when you set reasonably challenging goals and provide clear and frequent feedback, employees will consider almost any job engaging. Talk with your employees about their job on a regular basis and they will be more mindful of the work they are doing.
Presenteeism is a serious, growing, and costly problem for small businesses. In order to maintain a healthy workplace, increase worker productivity, and prevent needless mistakes, a solution must be found. When you reward for results, rather than time, provide unlimited time off, and talk with your employees on a regular basis about their jobs you will successfully solve the challenge of presenteeism.
©Copyright 2009 Ashley Acker Ashley Acker, Ph.D., WorkStyle Design Expert and Coach, works with small business owners and their teams to redesign work so everyone wins. Learn how to boost your team's productivity, develop a competitive advantage in your business, and enjoy unlimited freedom and flexibility with our FREE e-course, 5 Secrets for Successfully Leading Results-Driven Teams. Visit http://www.WorkStyleDesign.com to sign up today.