Are You Happily Productive?

 

We all know that the right mind-set can improve productivity. What if that mind-set was nothing more than the feeling of happiness?  According to research from the University of Warwick, happiness makes people more productive at work.  In conducting this research, economists carried out a number of experiments to test the idea that happy employees work harder. Under laboratory conditions, they found that happiness made people approximately 12% more productive.

Professor Andrew Oswald, Dr. Eugenio Proto and Dr. Daniel Sgroi from the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick led the research. The study, which was published in the Journal of Labour Economics, included four different experiments with more than 700 participants. During the experiments a number of the participants were either shown a comedy movie clip or treated to free chocolate, drinks and fruit. Others were questioned about recent family tragedies, such as bereavements. All these experiments were done to assess whether lower levels of happiness were later associated with lower levels of productivity.

After compiling the results, it was noted that happier workers use the time they have more effectively, whereby increasing the pace at which they can work without sacrificing quality.

Professor Oswald commented companies like Google that have invested in employee emotional support saw an increase in employee productivity. In the case of Google, productivity rose by 37%. Therefore, making workers happier can really pay off.

Dr. Proto noted that the research had implications for employers and promotion policies. He stated, ‘We have shown that happier subjects are more productive, the same pattern appears in four different experiments. This research will provide some guidance for management in all kinds of organizations; they should strive to make their workplaces emotionally healthy for their workforce.’

In addition, employees have the ability to make themselves happy at work by choosing a vocation that makes them happy.  People who enjoy what they do are far more productive than those who do not have passion for their work. Motivational speaker Denis Waitley once said, ‘Happy people plan actions, they don’t plan results.’ Relate this to the many times that workers get so wrapped up in their work that they do not recognise the passing of time. In much respect, this is an example of those productively planning and forging ahead with plans and actions.

Research over the past decade focuses on creativity, productivity, and the psychology of everyday work life. From small entrepreneurial start-ups to large established enterprises, the same holds true: People are more productive and creative when they encompass a larger percentage of positive emotions. In fact, it can be said that, if happier on a given day, people were not only more likely to come up with a new idea or solve a complex problem on that particular day but also to repeat the feat on the following day.

In light of today’s economic landscape, it’s more important than ever for companies to have happy and productive employees. When employees are loyal and engaged in the company, profits are higher. Conversely, when people feel unmotivated or undervalued, the company suffers. Additionally, studies show that engaged employees are seldom absent from work, perform better, and are more supportive of changes and willing to make them happen.

However, keeping employees happy is hard work as happiness comes from within a person. Friends, family and an individual’s job can add to or detract from someone’s happiness level. So if the workplace has a stressful work environment or painful things are happening, such as gossiping, employees’ productivity levels will decline.

Happy employees are also satisfied and feel a sense of accomplishment in their work. They like what they do, and they find satisfaction from their work. When workers feel that they are a dynamic and essential part of the team, they are more productive and willing to go the extra mile for their customers and co-workers. Therefore, employers need to give praise openly, set goals appropriate to the work and always take their employees’ needs seriously. By respecting and listening to their staff, employers give their workers the motivational push they need to stay loyal and committed to the company’s goals. Therefore, when there is a happy and productive workforce that is eager to contribute, their company can weather any economic storm.

About the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC)

Established in October 2013, The National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC) is responsible for the identification of key issues related to competitiveness and productivity in Saint Lucia.

The NCPC and its Technical Secretariat is committed to providing the necessary advocacy and research to produce timely and effective recommendations to policymakers on issues that affect both competitiveness and productivity on island. For more information about productivity or on the NCPC, visit www.stluciancpc.org; www.facebook.com/stluciancpc, call 468-5571/5576 or send an e-mail to stluciancpc@gmail.com

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Local SMEs Get Productivity Boost

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NCPC Executive Director , Mrs. Fiona Hinkson presents on Productivity Measurement  [Photo by Gabrielle Johnson, National Project Officer, CEF]

On Wednesday, January 18, 2017 The St. Lucia Employers Federation (SLEF) hosted a one-day Membership Workshop entitled “Productivity Improvements for Small and Micro Enterprises” at the Bay Gardens Inn. The workshop was a follow-up to one held in Grenada in 2015, for members of the Caribbean Employer’s Confederation (CEC), which identified productivity training as one of the critical needs of members.

This year’s workshop, which was a collaboration with the Caribbean Employers’ Confederation (CEC), the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC), sought to equip SMEs with an understanding of the concept of productivity and strategies for improving at an organizational level.

Amongst the facilitators at the activity were Ms. Vanessa Phala, Senior Specialist on Employers’ Activities attached to the ILO Decent Work Team and Office for the Caribbean, who provided participants with an Overview to some ILO Productivity Tools; Ms. Fiona Hinkson, Executive Director of the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC) , who presented on on “Productivity & Competitiveness Indicators, Measurement, Data Requirements & Data availability in St. Lucia” and “Measures to Improve Productivity at various Organizational Levels” and Mr. Joseph Alexander, Executive Director of the St. Lucia Employers’ Federation who addressed“Improving Productivity/Controlling absenteeism”. The workshop concluded with discussion on policies and strategies to address productivity.

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             Mrs. Fiona Hinkson, National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC)                  [Photo by Gabrielle Johnson, National Project Officer, Caribbean Employer’s Federation]

An Organised Space= An Organised Mind

 

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Show me your workspace and I will tell you who you are! In the very same way that the friends a person keeps is a reflection of who they are, the condition of an individual’s workspace can reveal much about their state of their mind and their productivity.

Although the issue of physical workspace is often overlooked, workspaces play a very influential role as it pertains to individuals’ feelings towards their work and very often impacts actual performance.

In this article, we take a look at how some of the world’s leading productivity experts have decluttered and organized their workspaces to maximise their efficiency and improve their productivity.

 PETER WALSH

Organizing Guru Peter Walsh, author of ‘It’s All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff’, says he imagines his desk like a car. Everything you need most immediately—the steering wheel, radio, ignition, indicators, door handle—is at arm’s length. Things that are needed but not used regularly are two-arms’ lengths away, such as in the glove compartment, and the things used infrequently are in the trunk.

Your desk should be exactly the same,” he says. “When you’re sitting at your desk, the only things you should be able to touch are the things you use all the time.”

Walsh’s desk holds his computer and keyboard, a charging station for his phone, and vertical files that hold active projects. “That’s all I have on my desktop,” he says. “Your desk is a workstation, not a storage facility.”

DAVID ALLEN

Productivity king David Allen, author of ‘Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity’, needs just a small desk in his Amsterdam office. He says a desk should hold four things: supplies, reference materials, decorations, and equipment. Anything else should go somewhere else.

A tour of his desk includes a box of facial tissue; a container that holds a letter opener, fountain pen, three felt pens, a ballpoint pen and scissors; and a standing file rack he personally designed that holds about 20 labelled file folders with current projects and client work. He also has a MacBook Pro on a vertical stand that connects to a large screen, a blue-tooth keyboard, and a mouse pad.

Allen also keeps two paper notepads in different sizes, and a pen at the ready. The in-basket is one of the most important tools on Allen’s desk, and it keeps his workspace clean. “It’s the funnel for miscellaneous things you haven’t decided about yet, such as mail or meeting notes,” he says. “Throw them in there. It’s the one place that gives you freedom and discipline to capture unprocessed stuff so it’s not thrown all over the desk”.

JULIE MORGENSTERN

Julie Morgenstern, author of ‘Organizing from the Inside Out’, keeps her desk neat by being selective about what’s on it. Hers includes a computer monitor, keyboard, telephone, and a small clock with an important function: “It’s easy for me to get absorbed in what I’m doing, and it keeps me conscious of the time,” she says. “It’s an old-fashioned clock with a second hand and very clear numbers. I don’t like looking at my iPhone for the time; it’s a device that sucks your energy.”

The most important tool on her desk, however, is her Balanced Life Planner, a product she designed herself, she says.

“It’s always out, and if an idea comes to me about something else I want to do, I immediately put it in my planner,” she says. “Then I can stay focused on what I’m doing. It helps me capture to-dos and guides me through my day, telling me what I’m doing when.”

Morgenstern also keeps a glass of water on a felt coaster and a quote-of-the-day affirmation calendar by Louise Hay. “It’s not an essential,” she says. “It’s something new I’m trying.”

Nicknamed “the queen of putting people’s lives in order” by USA Today, Morgenstern says she prefers her desk to be a clear surface except for what she’s working on at that moment. “I might have a client file or media interview folder, but if I’m not working on it, I don’t keep it out,” she says. “Once you start leaving things out, it becomes distracting. I store everything else within a spin of my chair.”

KIP TINDELL

As CEO and founder of The Container Store, Kip Tindell has access to multiple organizing tools to keep his desk tidy, but he’s very selective about what he uses. “I like to keep my work surface as open and clutter-free as possible since I prefer to be out, interacting with others instead of cooped up in my office,” he says.

Tindell uses stackable desktop organizers from his company’s Like-It Collection to hold office essentials. His desktop also holds a selection of books written by colleagues and friends. And decorating the surface is a collection of seven colored blocks that represent his company’s seven Foundation Principles, which guide everyone on how to treat employees, customers, vendors, shareholders, and the community with respect and dignity.

Since his desk is streamlined, Tindell says it typically doesn’t get too unruly: “As you can imagine, we like to keep things well organized at The Container Store,” he says.

There are many systems that you can use to organise your desk. You may even choose to incorporate different organizational styles to create one of your own. Either way your objective should be to implement an approach which will allow you to carry out your daily tasks productively.

About the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC)

Established in October 2013, The National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC) is responsible for the identification of key issues related to competitiveness and productivity in Saint Lucia.

The NCPC and its Technical Secretariat is committed to providing the necessary advocacy and research to produce timely and effective recommendations to policymakers on issues that affect both competitiveness and productivity on island. For more information about productivity or on the NCPC, visit www.stluciancpc.org; www.facebook.com/stluciancpc, call 468-5571/5576 or send an e-mail to stluciancpc@gmail.com

Labour Productivity: A Key Driver of Economic Growth & Competitiveness

 

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Saint Lucia’s economy in recent years has demonstrated sluggish growth which is indicative of our vulnerable and fragile main economic sectors. As such, for the last five years GDP growth has averaged at -0.4 percent. Therefore the question is- How can we improve the economic conditions of the local economy that will lead to more jobs, better prices and upward social mobility.

The answer therefore lies in productivity however more specifically- labour productivity.  Former Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Dr. Eric Williams in an Independence Day speech highlighted the importance of labour and its impact on the national economy. He stated that high absenteeism and turnover, shortage of skilled workers, poor customer service, low levels of technological innovation and transfer can contribute to a poor labour market and thus a weak economy.

Within Saint Lucia’s context, there is a general inability of our labour force to compete in the international market. This means that not all international investors are able to set up sophisticated businesses within our shores because of a shortage of skilled labour. Alternatively, local businesses exporting their services may be unable to bid for certain jobs because of a lack of skills within their firms.

The inaugural Productivity Assessment for Saint Lucia underscored a number of factors which have contributed to the low levels of productivity of our workforce. Some of these issues include: poor work ethic, worker absenteeism, high turnover rates and low levels of skills including soft skills. It is therefore critical that we transform our workers to become more innovative, solutions oriented to drive Saint Lucia towards economic prosperity.

Conversely, countries which are characterized by high labour productivity are therefore able to transform the economy towards sustained social and economic transformation. Increased labour productivity raises the power of an economy to satisfy the needs of the citizenry. As such, these countries benefit from a larger pool of tax revenue in which there is greater fiscal space to generate the necessary social services such as health care, education, welfare, public transportation etc.

A country’s labour force is therefore vital to its level of economic growth as workers are the driving force behind every product or service produced. For this reason, we must ensure that our labour force is competitive and competent in promoting economic growth. Hence, the cornerstones of a policy framework for developing a highly skilled and competitive workforce are: broad availability of good quality education as a foundation for future training; a close matching of skills to the needs of businesses and the labour market; enabling workers and enterprises to adjust to developments in technology and markets and preparing for the skills needs of the future.

When applied successfully, these approaches cultivate a virtuous cycle of better education and training which enables workers to be innovative, become creative entrepreneurs which fuels economic diversification and competitiveness. A well trained labour force promotes social and occupational mobility- and thus the creation of more productive and rewarding jobs, whereby they are able to increase living standards and thus collectively enhance country competitiveness.

Policy makers must therefore understand the role of labour in transforming our economy into a highly competitive society.  And so to promote a more productive and competitive Saint Lucia, it all starts with every worker. Every teacher, business owner, contractor, athlete- plays a pivotal role by collectively adopting the right attitude that promotes excellence. That is, in order to stimulate a more prosperous Saint Lucia, the economy needs more educated, skilled and highly trained individuals who are disciplined, self-driven and productive workers who will help build our nation.

In other words we need to put labour at the centre of our development. We must create a conducive environment to encourage productivity otherwise people are not going to produce at their maximum. As a country, there must be an effort to create the right environment to encourage productivity. The following are changes which may be adopted to encourage increased labour productivity:

  • Effective laws concerning workers must be enacted- The absence of any labour market regulations could lead to high turnover and poor worker morale, which could also diminish labour productivity.
  • Create a culture of pay performance- There is a lot of talent hidden amongst workers, which will not be maximized unless we adopt the model of rewarding performance. Also tax and welfare reforms to improve work incentives and increase the incomes from people working more productively can be adopted.
  • Incorporate education and skills training plans into our economic and national objectives. Improving the quality and affordability of education and training will increase its effectiveness at raising productivity – for example an expanded program of apprenticeship schemes, better management quality and investment in STEM subjects etc.
  • Measures to boost business start-ups and research and innovation can all lead to higher productivity in the long run.

Enhancing productivity is essential in making Saint Lucia’s economic recovery durable and will ensure that the benefits are shared by the citizenry. This requires efforts to improve and transform our labour force as they are at the heart of our socio-economic transformation. Therefore, when looking at what makes an economy grow in the long run, it is imperative to begin by examining how output is created. Output is produced by the workers who produce, manage, and process production. As such at the cornerstone of economic growth is the need to transform our labour force into a highly productive one.

About the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC)

Established in October 2013, The National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC) is responsible for the identification of key issues related to competitiveness and productivity in Saint Lucia.

The NCPC and its Technical Secretariat is committed to providing the necessary advocacy and research to produce timely and effective recommendations to policymakers on issues that affect both competitiveness and productivity on island. For more information about productivity or on the NCPC, visit www.stluciancpc.org; www.facebook.com/stluciancpc, call 468-5571/5576 or send an e-mail to stluciancpc@gmail.com