In reaction to hectic work scenarios, it may seem natural for an employer to pressure his or her staff to work ever more diligently, to finish projects more quickly, to be more efficient in every activity. While such urging may yield slight improvements during times of low stress, it can have the opposite effect in high-stress situations. During peaks of workplace frenzy and tight scheduling, when both employees and employers are likely to be anxious about fulfilling their many responsibilities, pressuring employees to work harder will probably add to the anxiety they are already experiencing. And as most of us can attest from personal experience, anxiety has a tendency to hurt mental clarity and thus diminish productivity. An employer should consider: in a high-pressure work scenario, will additional pressure from higher up be beneficial, or will it merely add to the stress that hinders efficiency?
Employees are actually more productive when they do not have to work in high-stress environments. So what can employees do to boost employee productivity without contributing even more stress to an already-hectic environment? Employers should do their best to foster communication in the workplace, since communication suffers and misunderstanding abounds during peaks of stress. Employers can foster communication by creating an infrastructure allowing for server and email access from any location, be it office, living room, or airport. Businesses can make use of any of a multitude of office technologies that allow employees to converse with their team about where they are and what they are doing at any given time. This will prove extremely helpful for employees who may be traveling, working from home, or visiting a client site. An employer may also wish to encourage his or her employees to share cell phone numbers amongst themselves as an additional means of communication.
It is just as important, however, for employees to have frequent communication access to managers, whether through phone, text messaging, email, or simply an open office door allowing for face-to-face conversation. Since managers are often responsible for essential decisions that impact how employees should be fulfilling their duties, managers should be available for discussions with employees as often as possible. Both employers and managers should converse with individual staff members about what they need to fulfill their job duties effectively. Since employees are the ones working through their responsibilities each day, they often know best what can assist them in working as productively as possible. In addition, maximizing productivity may mean having a technological infrastructure in place that allows staff to work virtually from locations outside of the workplace; this has the effect of extending the workplace beyond the walls of the office. Finally, an effective document management system, which replaces manual filing with electronic filing, can enhance employee productivity by eliminating loss and duplication of important documents. It can also save employees time and energy, otherwise spent on manual filing, for more specialized, demanding activities.
Together, these strategies can boost the work output of any employee team without contributing to the frenzied stress of high-pressure work scenarios.