Canada plagued by pro­duc­tiv­ity deficit

Ottawa Sun - - CAREERS - LINDA WHITE

LINDA WHITE

The num­ber of peo­ple look­ing for work last month edged down, ac­cord­ing to the Labour Force Sur­vey. The un­em­ploy­ment rate de­clined by 0.2 per­cent­age points to 6.3% — the low­est rate since Oc­to­ber 2008. High­lights: women aged 55 and older for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive month. in whole­sale and re­tail trade; in­for­ma­tion, cul­ture and recre­ation; man­u­fac­tur­ing; trans­porta­tion and ware­hous­ing; and nat­u­ral re­sources. Em­ploy­ment fell in ed­u­ca­tional ser­vices, pub­lic ad­min­is­tra­tion and agri­cul­ture. aged 15 to 24 rose 9.1% com­pared with July 2016. From July 2010 to July 2016, em­ploy­ment for this group had de­clined 6.0%, reach­ing a re­cent low point in 2016. Look­ing at an empty of­fice? It could be a tell­tale sign that

Tay­lor Swift is renowned for her squad and though some have de­cried her gag­gle of friends, hav­ing your own “tribe” should be part of your “cop­ing tool belt.” It can help you stay en­gaged and do your best — even if you’re work­ing in an en­vi­ron­ment that’s chaotic and full of un­nec­es­sary com­pli­ca­tions and dis­trac­tions, a stress and re­siliency ex­pert ad­vises.

Like ‘fight or flight,’ ‘tend and be­friend’ is a com­mon re­sponse to stress, Bev­erly Beuer­mann-King ex­plains. The first al­lows some­one to fight against a threat if over­com­ing that threat is likely or to flee if over­com­ing that threat is un­likely. The sec­ond is char­ac­ter­ized by be­friend­ing those around in times of stress to in­crease the like­li­hood your team suf­fers from pro­duc­tiv­ity deficit. of sur­vival.

Pro­duc­tiv­ity deficit — the feel­ing among work­ers that they’re not per­form­ing to the best of their abil­i­ties in the work­place — con­trib­utes to stress. Ac­cord­ing to an ADP Canada Sen­ti­ment Sur­vey, 49 per cent of Cana­dian work­ers suf­fers from it.

Of those, 43 per cent blamed poor pro­duc­tiv­ity on dis­trac­tion. “Dis­trac­tion can be rooted in a wide va­ri­ety of causes, from poor of­fice de­sign to overly am­bi­tious mul­ti­task­ing to the per­va­sive pres­ence of so­cial me­dia,” ADP Canada CFO Rus­sell Wong said in a state­ment. “Ev­ery sit­u­a­tion is dif­fer­ent but em­ploy­ers should look first at the things they can con­trol, such as noisy or crowded workspaces and then at what their em­ploy­ees can con­trol.”

Among less pro­duc­tive work­ers, 35 per cent com­plained of bar­ri­ers such as cum­ber­some work­flows, bu­reau­cratic red tape and or­ga­ni­za­tional bot­tle­necks. “Stream­lin­ing and get­ting rid of red tape and si­los within an or­ga­ni­za­tion can re­duce bick­er­ing, com­plain­ing and frus­tra­tion and lead to in­creased pro­duc­tiv­ity,” says Beuer­mann-King. “The key is to ex­am­ine ev­ery­thing and look for sim­pli­fi­ca­tion and clar­ity.”

Fi­nally, 27 per cent of less pro­duc­tive em­ploy­ees ad­mit­ted they just don’t need to work more ef­fi­ciently to get the job done. Lack of train­ing, re­sources or low lev­els of em­ployee en­gage­ment can be part of the prob­lem. “Most work­ers are ca­pa­ble of and want to add more value to their or­ga­ni­za­tion but some­times they’re sim­ply not given the tools, op­por­tu­ni­ties or con­text to dis­cuss and ad­vance these as­pi­ra­tions,” Wong said. In­creased ab­sen­teeism, sick leave and ben­e­fits us­age are tell­tale signs your team suf­fers from pro­duc­tiv­ity deficit.

“When we don’t feel like we’re per­form­ing our best, when we can’t work at our peak per­for­mance or when we’re feel­ing frustrated or over­whelmed, it’s self-pro­tec­tion to be­come dis­en­gaged,” Beuer­mann-King says.

To im­prove pro­duc­tiv­ity, man­agers must do more than sim­ply ask the proper ques­tions, such as: How can we re­duce dis­trac­tions? How can we stream­line this process? What tools or train­ing do you need to per­form at your peak?

They must cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment where it’s safe for em­ploy­ees to re­spond hon­estly with­out fear of be­ing chas­tised for in­sub­or­di­na­tion or neg­a­tiv­ity. It’s also im­por­tant to en­sure your team is work­ing towards the same goal. “Talk about where you’ve come from and where you’re go­ing and get peo­ple ex­cited about that,” Beuer­mann-King says.

There’s no such thing as a stress-free job but how you cope with stress de­pends on your cop­ing tool belt. “For some of us, that tool belt is re­ally well de­vel­oped and we can be very re­silient in most sit­u­a­tions. For oth­ers, ev­ery­thing seems to throw us off,” says Beuer­mann-King.

She de­scribes re­siliency as “the tools we use to make life full and flour­ish­ing. Are you eat­ing right, sleep­ing right and ex­er­cis­ing? Are you tak­ing breaks to re­fresh your­self? Do you have hob­bies? Those kinds of things help our re­siliency.”

Re­search sug­gests con­nect­ed­ness is even more im­por­tant. “Are you con­nected with some­one at work you can talk to, vent to and rely on?” she asks. “Con­nec­tion with other peo­ple and mov­ing in the same di­rec­tion helps with en­gage­ment.”

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