South-Western - Management  
Productivity Grows as Workers Take Time for Recharging Their Batteries
Topic Managing Individuals and Teams
Key Words Employee productivity, efficiency, management skills
InfoTrac Reference CJ132106788
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News Story

The image of the productive employee working long hours chained to their desk is not always the best example of a worker who gets a lot done. Job coaches say that the most efficient employees are those that are organized, get enough rest, and have good working conditions with plenty of breaks to recharge their mind. Carolyn Schur, president of Alert at Work advises taking five-to ten-minute breaks every 90 minutes to get a fresh perspective on the current project. Low-sugar snacks like nuts, fruit, yogurt, or cheese can help to keep energy levels up. Breaks are also important because they help to break the work day up into more manageable tasks, which can be motivating.

Rachna Jain, a licensed psychologist and job coach says it is important to focus on the quality of the work rather than the quantity done at the end of each day. She suggests keeping a time log for a week or two to show what tasks take the longest, and can be reduced or eliminated. She also suggests breaking large projects down into small tasks and monitoring the daily progress of each step.

It's also important to work with a manager who is a good match. The best match, according to Glenn Mehltretter, president of PeopleFit, is a boss who can help the employee improve. A good manager needs to show how each job fits into the overall big picture of the company. That person should also add and give value.

Productivity also benefits when workers are allowed to set their own priorities, schedule, and agenda. Some managers have unrealistic expectations of how much work their employees can produce, or they micromanage, both behaviors that can kill productivity. Managers of startups frequently make this mistake, and try to hold on to good employees by working them to death, resulting in resentment and poor productivity.

Questions
1.

The article mentions that employees who are micromanaged are not as productive as those who are not. Define micromanagement and explain why it can hinder employee productivity.

2.

The article states that managers can hurt productivity by having expectations for the amount of work employees can accomplish that is too high. Do you think managers can hurt employee productivity by having expectations that are too low? Explain your answer.

Source "Productivity Grows as Workers Take Time for Recharging Their Batteries," The Baltimore Sun, May 4, 2005, p NA.
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