What’s the latest workplace trend? Sticking electronic trackers on employees to find out exactly how they spend their days, like, where they go during work hours, if they eat lunch alone, and how many coffee breaks they take.
And companies use that information to determine what makes workers more productive, and what hurts productivity. Interestingly enough, most companies found that the most productive employees are also the ones who interact with each other the most, and spend more time chatting during coffee breaks, at lunch, or even online.
For example, a national bank and a pharmaceutical company both tracked the movements, email habits, and conversation patterns of call center employees and sales personnel. The result: The more face-to-face interactions employees had with each other, the more productive they were, because socializing made them happy, and happy workers tend to be more gung-ho, and more productive.
As a result: Both companies scrapped individual coffee breaks, and scheduled group breaks, instead. And productivity jumped 10 percent across the board. The pharmaceutical company also discovered that productivity dropped after lunch.
That’s because most workers ate alone at their desks so they could use their computers. So, the company renovated the cafeteria, improved the food, and added Wi-Fi so workers would be more likely to eat lunch together. And productivity spiked again, especially among workers who ate at 12-person tables, instead of 4 person tables. It seems the bigger the lunch groups, the more workers socialized with people in other departments, which led to improved collaboration, and increased productivity.
What’s the takeaway here? You don’t need an employee tracker to tell you how to boost productivity at your company. It could be as simple as hanging out with your coworkers more often.