I somehow was lucky enough to enjoy two vacations abroad in the first quarter of this year. And although I took some significant ribbing about it, I admit, it was lovely to unplug, relax and enjoy the history and culture of the very different destinations.
The side benefit I didn’t realize until I returned was how much getting away allowed me to be more productive at work when I jumped back into it. Just in the last week I’ve spoken to at least a half-dozen friends and business associates who expressed feelings of being overwhelmed at work, too busy to focus and burned out. In an era where we are all pulled in so many different directions, both at work and home, feeling overwhelmed seems to be an ever-increasing occurrence, especially when we take work with us on our smart phones wherever we go.
If you read my infrequent posts, you know I’m a big fan of HBR, and just this week I found two articles specifically addressing the issue of focusing and improving productivity. I especially liked Tony Schwartz’s blog about doing one thing at a time (with advice that includes taking regular and real vacations, so I am doing something right!).
Interestingly, the other post is from several years ago, but was trending as one of the most commented on stories in the last 24 hours, and it speaks to the ignore list. I like that thought. What can you cut out of the long list of tasks so you can focus, get all the important things done and still find time to re-energize? And, hey, if your ignore list includes skipping reading my blogpost, I hope it’s because you’re planning a get-away!Tagged Morningstar Communications, productivity, Professional Development, Sheri Johnson, Strategic Communications
I was honored to speak to a group of Kansas City business leaders as part of The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s “Business Brainfood” Series a few weeks ago. The topic was “Small investment & big return: Boosting employee engagement through effective internal communications.”
I shared some rather sobering research on the decline in employee engagement over the past two to three years. The stats on how willing employees are to go the extra mile and put forth discretionary effort paint a poor picture. The impact on overall performance in an environment where folks want to only do the bare minimum ultimately means lost revenue due to poor productivity. Fortunately, I absolutely believe effective internal communications can help improve morale and foster more motivated employees. Best practice companies are using both online and offline tools to communicate company direction as well as stimulate peer-to-peer conversation (which, by the way, is where some of the most exciting new internal communications strategies are directed).
Several other trends were discussed in the presentation, and attendees had a chance to weigh-in from their own perspectives about some of the challenges and opportunities in internal communications/internal marketing. The transient nature of today’s workforce and the stark differences in how employees view their relationship with their company today vs. prior generations made for a great discussion. As the recession graphs start to trend back upwards, our clients and organizations should (hopefully) begin to turn their attentions back toward motivating the workforce.Tagged Business Brainfood, employee engagement, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, Internal Communications, Matt Tidwell, Morningstar Communications, productivity, Professional Development