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Three Little Factors That Wreak Havoc On Workplace Productivity Why rigid bureaucratic nature of organizations endangers overall company success.

By Shakir Akorede

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Employee performance will continue to determine the success or failure of every business entity. Every manager knows this, but not everyone gets it right when it comes to optimizing employee productivity and workplace performance. You can blame this shortcoming on lots of factors. However, in a constantly evolving environment, the rigid bureaucratic nature of organizations and decision-makers has been identified as the most impactful.

With the prevailing transformation in tech and workplace culture, the world is witnessing a new reality of work and workforce. And of course, it all demands continuous reassessment and adjustment towards stellar employee performance and overall company success. In this piece, I sum up a number of little but impactful issues that impair workplace productivity under three major factors. Let's do a quick reassessment.

Workplace bureaucracy

Under this umbrella factor is a number of things that push productivity to the deepest grave. First, as this research by the Harvard Business Review affirms, "bureaucracy is the enemy of speed" and "is a time trap." On average, employees spend 28% of their time (that's more than a day) fixing less-productive or even trifling bureaucratic stuff. More so, a complex bureaucratic culture saps productivity by preventing the following:

Work flexibility

Remote, freelance work is the new norm. By 2027, more than half of the US workforce will be freelancers. It's worth emphasizing that this generation of workers is already disrupting the corporate world with a set of new norms including independence and work-life balance. It all gives them the wing to perform better either by working from home or going to the office at flexible hours. Irrefutably, your organization loses out by confining employees to complex procedural structures that are merely set to direct workers. With this old school practice, it's rapidly impossible to achieve maximum performance from a set of employees who want to work remotely and yet collaborate with their colleagues to achieve the best possible results.

Innovation and creativity

Bureaucracy isn't devoid of innovation, but the problem lies in the limitation to the leadership level. In practice, employee creativity cannot be maximized in an operating system where, as Gary Hamel, author of What Matters Now, aptly describes it, "Strategy gets set at the top. Power trickles down. Big leaders appoint little leaders. Individuals compete for promotion. Compensation correlates with rank. Tasks are assigned. Managers assess performance. Rules tightly circumscribe discretion." No matter how much effort is made by an employee, this bureaucratic structure doesn't encourage individual innovation and creativity in anyway. What then can be said about productivity?

Workplace technophobia

As technology continues to dominate at a more rapid pace, a lot of managers (still) want to keep reality at bay. The situation is more or less a part of the general fear of robots taking over. Let's face it, any hesitation to maximize technology today is a suicidal business flaw.

At the heart of the success of every big brand is the power of technology. Consider artificial intelligence -the new hype in the tech, business world- for instance. It's something far beyond using computers and internet in the office. Virtual assistant chatbots, for example, can facilitate text conversations and human-like help to customers on websites, and are poised to save businesses US$8 billion annually by 2022. Needless to say, this would disrupt and benefit the workplace in no small measures.

Workplace and employee productivity is the least of issues that are solved by tech. For example, regardless of the size of your workforce, tools like ClickMeeting can enhance productivity by making remote working, team collaboration and knowledge sharing a cakewalk. Teams that hold regular virtual meetings find features like screen sharing, session recordings, calendar auto-sync and in-meeting chat to be indispensable. What's more, a lot of software makes staying compliant with employee scheduling very easy and pleasurable. As technology evolves, employee behavior does too. These digital ways to match their behavior, maximize efficiency and upscale productivity are quite indispensable.

Workplace (bad) culture

When employees are inspired and ecstatic, they're wholeheartedly invested in their job. They perform at maximum efficiency- not individually but as a team. That's precisely the result of a fantastic company culture. It fosters collaboration, ingrains in employees shared vision and value while keeping their morale always high. Contrarily, to put it simply, a bad culture yields massive negative results.

Beyond the perks, new trends like diversity, workplace setting and even office interior are essential factors in today's business landscape. When intact, they make employee productivity and organizational success a sort of walk in the park. Every other factor discussed above are productivity and business killers.

Related: How You Begin Your Day Can Make Or Break Your Productivity

Shakir Akorede

Founder of 501 Words

Shakir Akorede is a writer, digital entrepreneur and the founder of 501 Words. He's equally a researcher and a young professional in foreign policy.

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