Feeling the drag today as you return to work after the 4th of July weekend? You’re not alone. Studies show that workplace productivity craters immediately after a holiday — and that workplace productivity can drop as much as 20% during the summer. Most of us use Monday to get caught up and set a plan for the week. So cramming that and a Tuesday isn’t easy — especially if we head into the office already stressed about our looming workload.
However, a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resources Management shows that the occasional three-day weekend can actually make us more productive. Better sleep, less stress, the rejuvenation we get from spending time with friends and family… These things have a direct correlation on workplace efficiency and productivity. As Henry Ford realized in the 1920s, when after shortening the workday in his factories to eight hours he also shifted the work week from six days to five, happier people work harder.
But historical examples and arcane studies aren’t much help when your inbox is overflowing, your to-do list isn’t getting any shorter, and stress starts creeping back in.
When that happens, we suggest the following strategies:
1) Embrace busy work.
A joint 2014 study between the University of California Irvine and Microsoft Research found that employees are actually happiest when they’re performing easy tasks. The reasoning? It’s easy to get a sense of accomplishment by knocking out menial duties — and it gives us a chance to chill out in between more challenging projects.
2) Take short, regularly scheduled breaks.
Segmenting your daily schedule into easily digestible chunks of work bookended by short 5- or 10-minute breaks can actually make you more productive. Scientists believe that’s because our brains will shift into overdrive when presented with a deadline — especially if a short rest period is waiting on the other side of it. Consider this: the brain is a muscle, and it gets strengthened and depleted depending on how you use it. Recharging it and replenishing it periodically will lead to improvements in performance.
3) Stop searching in vain for documents.
Say it takes you a minute to find each document you need to open. And say you open 20 documents a day. That’s 20 minutes of your day gone that you’ll never get back — unless you implement a good system for organizing and backing up your data, both locally on your computer and remotely in the cloud.
4) Use a second monitor.
A Dell study proved that multiple monitors really can help us work faster and smarter. According to research conducted by the University of Utah, employees who use a second monitor saw such a boost in productivity and efficiency that they reclaimed a whopping two and a half hours per workday — and that quickly adds up to 10 hours per week, 40 hours per month, and 480 hours per year. Even if you only pay your employees $10 an hour, that’s almost $5,000 in savings, per person, each year.
5) Leave IT concerns to the professionals.
Similar to studies about second monitors, a March 2016 survey by Robert Half Technology found that technology issues chew up an average of 30 minutes each day — which adds up to six whole days lost each year. That’s why proactive IT management and monitoring is so important. At CMIT Solutions, we offer elite-level support, 24/7 help desk availability, and comprehensive technology training so that your employees can focus on the task at hand, not worry about fixing their computers.
Combatting the post-holiday weekend haze is never easy. But with the right strategies, the right technology infrastructure, and the right IT partner, you and your employees can boost productivity and efficiency. Want to learn more about how CMIT Solutions worries about IT so you don’t have to? Contact us today.