Working Smart Instead Of Working Hard

It seems counter-intuitive to ask your employees relax at work.  But the reality remains an overworked employee will produce less and is at risk of absenteeism.  You don’t want that for your business.  If you want a successful business, rethink your idea of productivity.

In the last seminar I conducted on Leadership, I stressed the difference between effort and results.  A great number employees (even managers) focus on the amount of work that they put in.  However, little attention is given to the actual results.  In fact, numerous leaders and managers see effort or the amount of work as the gauge for an employee’s productivity.  A paradigm shift is without a doubt in order.

Have you seen employees glued to the computer with their fingers bouncing on the keyboard for hours yet no viable output is produced?  I know employees who can coast through the day in the office pretending to do a lot of work.  They have mastered the Art of Looking Busy.  On the other hand, I have you witnessed employees who seem to be doing nothing but produce tons of work?  Obviously, there is a skewed notion of productivity and success if you think employee productivity is based on the amount of work they put in.

Allow me to clarify this point – employees need to work in order to accomplish tasks.  Some work hard, while others work smart.  It is these people who work smart that produce more with minimal effort.  Yes, it is efficiency and these employees know it.

How do you encourage working smart?

Let employees suggest ways to improve your internal processes – they are the ones who execute these processes and procedures.  They have the front row seats on what would work and what will not.

Resources help improve efficiency – the right equipment, tools can multiply one’s productivity.  Investing on them will not just improve outputs but increase the quality of the work.  Of course, getting only the appropriate resources is required.

Provide the right task – Everyone has his own expertise.  It’s logical to give an assignment to those whom you think are qualified.  Giving it to someone without the right qualifications will be counterproductive.

Equip with the right skill and knowledge – Some employees require additional skills and knowledge to accomplish tasks.  It is prudent to equip them the needed competencies in order to accomplish the assignments you assign.  Moreover, a competent employee will know how to handle the task and do it in an efficient manner.

Foster the right attitude – one pivotal ingredient in productive employees is instilling the right attitude.  When employees have the right mindset and character, they can regulate themselves, and thus, work at an optimum level.

Working smart will provide business the competitive edge in the market.  When there is more work than actual output, the company is simply wasting resources and losing the industry battles.  On the other hand, when every detail in the company is maximized and utilized properly, growth can be expected.

Leaders and managers need to address this skewed mindset about productivity and the amount of work.  Rather, they are encouraged to rethink what productivity is all about.  It’s is results, not just employee efforts.

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4 thoughts on “Working Smart Instead Of Working Hard”

  1. Business owners/corporate executives should not merely focus on the quantity of hours worked but rather be more conscious on the quality of work that their employees provide in making the business/company successful. Employees should not be seen as mere “robots” but as partners towards achieving their goals.

  2. I love the art of looking busy … lol… I agree to this post and to @jenny1015:disqus the quality work is more than helping to any form of business. This Tip reminds me of my two brother whose always sharing about there works and as always came to a point of asking them how’s the performance for the day, reminding them if they want to succeed they should input the quality of work and not the quantity of hours they stay at work. Although it is important because it is part of the evaluation.

  3. Excellent tips. There is a certain site that I sell writing services on that really needs to check out this article! I also agree with @jenny1015:disqus that the quality of work should also be a priority for employers. My husband has had it on both sides of the spectrum. His former boss focuses solely on quantity and it has led to rapid, large staff turnaround. His current boss focuses on quality and quantity and it is a very happy workplace.


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