Performance Management Company Blog

Ideas on People and Performance, Team Building, Motivation and Innovation

Tag: statistics on working

Working while Not Working – The Problem of Overconnectedness

I wrote a blog up a year ago about statistics on work and working and the interconnection with vacation time. I thought I would also update that, since I just read an article in Mother Jones magazine about the issues and problems of always being connected to the business life. Pretty scary stuff, all in all. And it points out research that shows disconnecting can be really beneficial.

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Addendum:

We ARE in need of some brain freeing vacation time. An Intercall survey of American employees showed that people are simply NOT paying attention during conference calls.

  • 65% said they did other work at the same time as pretending to participate
  • 55% that they prepared or ate food
  • 47% that they went to the bathroom
  • 25% that they played video games
  • 27% confessed to falling asleep at least once during a call, and
  • 5% said they’d had a friend POSE as themselves in order to skip it completely.

People are simply disengaged, over-meeting’d and in need of a break from work to put humpty dumpty back together. You can find a more expansive article clicking on this link. The rest of this blog gets into that data.

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As background and perspective, I am now well into my 30th year of running Performance Management Company, which started as a consulting business working in people and performance areas, with a shift to customer service quality and then to change management and now to themes of workplace involvement and engagement. The shift to selling materials has been a good one and the pressures of the day=to-day have shifted as I enter my 66th year of being in the business of living.

As a small business, I can affirm that one is almost always thinking about the business — it is impossible to get away. And I used to joke about spending 50% of my time marketing, 50% of my time developing materials and 50% of my time actually doing things to make money. Only the reality is that 50% + 50% + 50% is actually 100% small business reality…

(One of the very best articles ever about the issues of running a small business is Wilson Harrell’s 1987 article, Entrepreneurial Terror that appeared in Inc, Magazine. Heck, I still give out photocopies of that to people every so often…)

A Harris / Adweek poll two years ago said that 52% of Americans will work during their summer vacation this year. The survey showed that working people are expecting to perform a variety of tasks, including:

  • Reading work-related emails – 30%
  • Receiving work-related phone calls – 23%
  • Accessing documents on home computer – 19%
  • Receiving work-related text messages – 18%
  • Accessing documents on work computer – 13%
  • Asked to do work by a boss, client or colleague – 13%

Clive Thompson, writing in Mother Jones magazine, shared a good bit of interesting information on the issue of being plugged in all the time and why we need to unplug. View that actual article here.

He shared data from the Center for Creative Leadership finding that 60% of smartphone-using professionals were work-connected for a full 13+ hours a day and that they spent another 5 hours playing with emails on weekends. That adds up to 72 hours a week of job-related content — with pay for 40 hours!

Another study by Good Technology found that 68% of people checked work email before work — before 0800 — and that 50% checked it while in bed before going to sleep! Almost 40% check email at the dinner table! And the APA reports that one in ten check email hourly – when on vacation!

It would seem that the entrepreneurial issue of always feeling that one had to be connected is now everyone’s problem. And there is that scene from “Deal of The Century” (Chevy Chase) where Harold (Wallace Shawn) is waiting for the phone call and cannot leave his room. (Watch it here – 4 minutes and very well done!)– Chevy does a coaching / inspirational talk about making the sale.

Deal

Pressure. Pressure to make the sale. Pressure to complete a project. Pressure from the team. Pressure from the boss. Pressures of all kinds from working.

WITH our connectedness and other electronic support and unpaid work time, corporate productivity is up 23% since 2000. Inflation-adjusted wages and benefits are up 4% for these same jobs. (Data from Economic Policy Institute) And, Clive Thompson wrote, the marketing research firm Radicati Group reports that we can expect to receive 22% more business email by 2015 than we did 3 years ago. Managers get about 300 emails a day, from what I read, so when do we actually find any time to think, to innovate, to build trust in our relationships, or to even relax?

We are being multi-tasked and over-managed, we are being spread thinner and thinner, expected to know more about more things but also unable to get the training time or even understand how things work in many of our jobs.

And the research supports that reality that some play and relaxation and free time to reflect and refocus does an awful lot to rebuild motivation and morale.

Pin Balloon Play Performance poem

PMC sells Square Wheels illustrations and performance-based team building exercises to help put more play into performance improvement initiatives. Click on the icon below to see more information on our website:

THE+Games for Teambuilding PMC Home Page icon 1

Have some FUN out there! (Yeah, me, too.)

Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant.
Connect with Scott on Google+ – you can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com

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Working while Working – and while on Vacation, too?

I just read one post in a newsletter about working during working hours and doing something else when not working during working hours. Wow, with 27 years now in this business and with me being a home business for 15 years, thinking about not working seems, well, kind of crazy.

And my position seems to be supported by a new Harris / Adweek poll that says that 52% of Americans will work during their summer vacation this year.

I guess that means that they will actually take a summer vacation.

The survey showed that working people are expecting to perform a variety of tasks, including:

  • Reading work-related emails – 30%
  • Receiving work-related phone calls – 23%
  • Accessing documents on home computer – 19%
  • Receiving work-related text messages – 18%
  • Accessing documents on work computer – 13%
  • Asked to do work by a boss, client or colleague – 13%

I know that when I was camping in Zion and Bryce Canyons two years ago, I was one of those working boys! I was checking email every day even when I had to walk to the Concession Area to get wifi access. And I am sure that this will get worse over time. Heck, I remember the time when the little downtown retail stores closed on Wednesday afternoons so the owners and employees could be with families, play golf, etc. And open on Sunday? No Way. Now, it is literally 24 / 7 and with the websites, anyone can shop from anywhere at any time.

Scott at Zion and at Bryce

Me, I think this is bad. I know that I should take some time off, just to fire up the creative juices. But workers in the US burn the candle at both ends (and they do it for less money and more pressure and no healthcare – do you also see a long-term problem here?).

If you can, work work into business, like presenting at a conference in Barbados and taking a few days surrounding that program to network and do other business development stuff:

Working at sunset on the beach in Barbados

So, get things done but try to keep things in balance.

My joke about Governor Nikki Haley, who is pushing to eliminate unions and create more jobs here in South Carolina, is that she is trying to create enough jobs so both partners in the marriage can have both of the jobs they need to support their families.  But that is a different storyline…

But understand that things are shifting when it comes to working. Only 40% of US employees even took a summer vacation last year and half of this group admitted that they planned or did work during their vacation (Harris / Adweek).

Another interesting finding comes from a CareerBuilder survey which shows that while 81% of managers plan or have taken a vacation break this year, only 65% of full-time employees have plans to do the same. While companies may understand the issues of health and success that come from “refreshed” employees, the day to day job demands may be precluding this from actually happening. An Expedia 2011 Vacation Deprivation Survey showed that US employees are beginning to “treat vacation as a luxury rather than a fact of life.”

And last year, over 200 million earned vacation days were not utilized by those who earned them.

I am not sure where all this eventually ends, but I know that my workweek has always been long and I feel a bit guilty when I am not working. And I work for myself – it is not like I worry about my job security and how my taking time off might appear to my supervisor insofar as it reflects on my dedication.

I think the Europeans have a much better perspective on all this. (While I sit here working after working all weekend… Go figure.)

Have some FUN out there! (Yeah, me, too.)

Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant.
Connect with Scott on Google+ – you can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com

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