An employees’ “inner work life” has a resounding effect on their productivity and performance within a business organization. Inner work life involves a mix of emotions, whether good or bad, that can be affected by external events. Managers can boost productivity by managing people themselves, not just their progress: workplace performance and inner work life form an interwoven loop with each affecting productivity as a whole.
While inner work life affects performance, performance, in turn, affects inner work life. Inner work life triggers can be categorized as catalysts and nourishes; each has opposites namely inhibitors and toxins. Catalysts and nourishes will elevate the inner work life and hence employees’ performance but inhibitors and toxins will cause an equivalent decrease.
Studies targeted at knowledge workers including scientists, researchers and programmers revealed that the inner work life is the most important factor responsible for performance in the workplace. For example, when you are writing an essay, you need to be focused and inner work life is a condition for that. The study was conducted on a total of 238 individuals in which their daily entries in a diary were surveyed. It uncovered that positive inner work life catalyzes creativity but the reverse is the case with a negative inner work life. This is contrary to some assumptions that pressure or fear improves performance. While this may be true for some other kinds of work, it is proved false in jobs involving creativity. With a positive inner work life, employees will be more creative, motivated and tend to work better with other members of their teams. Inner work life and hence productivity can be enhanced or diminished by triggers such as motivations, emotions, and perceptions.
The Power of Progress
Progress is an important catalyst of the inner work life and setbacks can cause a corresponding decrease in the inner work life of employees in an organization. Employees’ mood, emotions and motivation levels have a resounding impact on their progress. Research shows that employees are 76% more successful in workplaces during days when they are in their best moods with only a 13% drawback in such days; these days are characterized by catalysts and nourishes. On the contrary, only a 25% success rate and a 67% setback rate can be observed in days the employees are in their worst mood basically characterized by inhibitors and toxins. For a writer, this usually means asking for some help with your writing or procrastinating and getting nothing achieved at all.
Catalysts are put in place when managers do things to support the work process. This may include not interfering with workers’ work processes, setting attainable and unambiguous goals, providing assistance to get the job done, giving room for learning and ideas and allowing failures not to undermine the team’s goal. Inhibitors are clearly the opposite of catalysts and include actions such as meddling with the workers’ autonomy and not supporting them to attain the stated goal. As it can be observed, both catalysts and inhibitors are targeted at the work but nourishers and toxins are worker-centric. Encouragement, recognition, respect, and emotional comfort are nourishes whereas toxins constitute the opposite.
Catalyzing and nourishing progress improves the inner work life of workers in a remarkable way and the same time, with the improved inner work life comes greater progress and productivity. However, this only carries the required momentum if the employee does the work he derives satisfaction doing, otherwise the motivational boost from the inner work life catalysts will be lost.
Of course, the inner work life becomes positive when progress is made in the work. Greater success can be achieved in an organization if employees’ progress can be measured and recorded, as long as this doesn’t have an impact on the inner work life and productivity. In other words, keeping a daily record or work journal detailing each day’s accomplishments – no matter how small – can help employees appreciate their progress in the job and therefore arouse a more positive inner work life and as a result seeing what they have really achieved. Of course, the work journal should not contain only the positive impacts of the job but it should be comprehensive, noting down any negative impacts as well in order to provide balance and detect any patterns of negative performance.
A journal will help you to make a good assessment of your performance in the job, correct inadequacies where they exist and accurately track achievements. Several tools are available for tracking or measuring achievements and two of the most awesome tools thats that can be leveraged include Basecamp and Desktime. Both tools are premium but Basecamp allows for 30 days free trial whereas Desktime allows for 14 days free trial. They provide a simple but powerful way to measure performances in real-time, track achievements and capabilities.
Business schools and books have paid excessive attention to the management of organizations and people whereas the keys to making resounding success in productivity lie in the management of progress and achievements. Progress management implies the management of the employees’ emotions, motivations, and perception. As a manager, you need to make the employee feel that their contributions to the team matters and you need to provide the resources they need to meet the targeted goals. Of course, errors and uncertainties could occur but it is the managers’ duty to keep the team together at odd times and not to pounce on them at every slight mishit.
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