What’s Really Slowing Down Your Productivity
Productivity is our life-blood, but at times it slows down for no reason. Here are a few reasons why.
Productivity is one of the cornerstones of many of our lives, but that is especially true with Americans. For as long as I can remember, America has always been a country that wants to do things.
In fact, the ideals that Americans have seeped into my home country of Canada as well. I know from my own experiences at times I always want to be moving forward.
I want to be progressing constantly or consistently.
But over the years as I’ve been growing my business, I realize that that can’t always happen.
There are days where I struggle to write an article let alone three or four.
There are times where I don’t get that client or that my proposals fall on deaf ears.
There are days where basically nothing happens at all.
And deep down it kind of bothers me. But it also makes me curious about why that is.
In a world where we are encouraged to work and push ourselves, why do we have days where things seem like they’re moving at a crawl?
And I’m not alone on this as productivity — especially in the US — has been on the decline.
Since 2004, the growth that productivity was rising was weak and by 2010 it came to a crawl. This was based on output per hour worked — the easiest and simplest way to measure productivity.
And to this day, productivity has been at a slowdown. It’s lower than in the 1970s, and it still isn’t at the level it was at before the 2007-08 financial crisis.
Why is that?
A lot of it is to do with policy and a major demographic shift.
The 1970s was around the time that the Baby Boomers came into the workforce and right now they are on the verge of retiring. While inexperienced at the time, they’re now a large group of workers with a lot of experience and skill behind them. They are the main driving force of productivity primarily due to them being human capital.
Human capital is the concept that the higher it is the more output you’ll have. And one of the factors of human capital is age. At least according to economic theory.
Another aspect of note is American policy — specifically the lack of it. Currently, policy is in place to a point where many businesses can grow rapidly than everything else. However, it’s not bringing industry along with it. On top of corporate tax policy being generally weak, businesses are able to thrive, but leave the entire nation in the dust.
But that doesn’t answer the question on an individual level. But these things can certainly contribute to it.
A lot of these factors, amongst many others have created an environment where productivity is slowing down.
Baby Boomers are generally in higher positions due to their experiences, but they lack the technological savvy that many young workers have. Not to mention the managerial culture as well makes an impact on the industry as well.
But it’s these types of cultures that affect a business and the employees therein.
A poor manager telling people how to do the job rather than being a leader can create a culture where everyone is for themselves. They could even create a cult-like culture where it’s all about one specific goal revolving around someone. Even leaders can create that sort of culture.
If you’re working for a larger company, they may be more focused on maximizing output and to catch up to larger competitors. This can make an employee feel more like a resource than a human being.
Even where you are working and how you are working can affect you mentally and physically. A room set to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 Celsius) is when peak performance can be seen. Also if the office has a view, employees are likely to be 10–16% more productive as well. On the other hand, if the building is older or is using older items can decrease productivity. Not to mention rooms that are exceedingly warmer can slow productivity down as people feel more sleepy.
Even something as simple as noise can disrupt peoples work. Music or conversations can be distracting to some people and have an effect on 1 in 3 men and 1 in 4 women. This can plunge productivity more if the culture of the business is to treat the working area as a library. Whenever noise happens it would become especially distracting to everyone else.
While we aren’t able to change a nation in an instant, we can at the very least change our surroundings and our culture. There are many things that impact our culture, business, and our work and the best thing to do is to be aware of them. Furthermore to put together group plans to tackle the issue.
If you’re a leader, it’s important to be aware of the norms that are in place in the business. If you’re running the show, you want to make sure that people are growing and improving as you grow and improve as well. As we can certainly see right now, there are many problems that come when a company pulls far ahead of everyone else.