Often overlooked in organizations, especially large ones, is the fact that productivity, happiness, and engagement are all related. Employees who are happier and more satisfied at work are more productive and more engaged in the mission of the organization.
Several factors affect the happiness of the staff. First, studies show that control makes us happy. So employees who feel disempowered and micromanaged are less likely to feel like they have control over their work environment, and are therefore less likely to report being happy at work.
And there are two sides to this coin. Managers and leaders often tell me that their biggest source of distraction is interruptions from their staff.
If your employees often come to you with issues, they may feel like they are not empowered to solve problems on their own. And if you offer them solutions, instead of encouraging them to do what they think is best, this reinforces the idea that they are not empowered to solve problems on their own, which furthers the employees’ unhappiness and continues the managers’ distraction.
Another way to help your staff feel more in control, and therefore make them happier at work, is to be careful about encouraging multitasking.
Have you inadvertently tied your employees to their email by always expecting an immediate response? Even if you don’t expect an immediate response, do your employees think you do? Or do they think you will look more favorably on an immediate response? This puts employees in reactive mode all day, and prevents them from being proactive —assessing their overall workload and choosing what to work on next.
When companies fall into the habit of using internal email for immediate and urgent communication, the (often unintended) byproduct is that employees are forced to always leave their email open, being distracted by every new message that comes in.
This kind of email culture also ensures constant multitasking, and prevents employees from ever being able to focus on the task at hand for any period of time. Studies show that this means that tasks will take longer and the quality of the results will be lower. Constant multitasking makes us more prone to making mistakes, more likely to miss important information and cues, and less likely to retain information in working memory, which impairs problem solving and creativity.
Supporting single-tasking and focus will help employees to feel less scattered and distracted, and therefore less stressed, contributing to their feeling of well-being at work.
And speaking of multitasking, give your staff the gift of your presence by turning away from your computer and putting down your smartphone when meeting or speaking with them. This will help to make them feel valued and listened to — both factors that contribute to their happiness at work.
This article was originally posted on Maura's blog: RegainYourTime.com.