Have you ever had a conversation with someone from an earlier generation about how hard people work? If you have, you have probably heard something to the effect of “In my day we knew how to work! You, young people, do not know what hard work is!”
The baby boomer generation did in fact, work very hard. They look at today’s generation and they see people looking into a computer monitor all day. They do not have to leave their post to check on inventory, order stock, check email, or process an order.
They do not read through heavy manuals to ensure the customer is getting what they need. Today’s employee can do in an hour what yesteryear’s employee did in a day. Technology has taken the workforce by storm. It comes down to the productivity of an employee versus the physical labor of an employee, it becomes a crystal clear who is actually being overworked. The millennials are the first generation to use technology and to work smarter, not harder.
Don’t always believe what you see.
If you have ever managed an office, you will notice that people who are in entry-level positions often complain that the highly-skilled workers do not put in their fair share of hours. These people are assuming that the better-paid employee begins work when he walks in the door and stops when he exits. This is where the misunderstandings begin.
The people at the top of the corporate ladder are people who travel great distances to service a client or to attract a new one. They cannot work standard hours. They may be playing golf with a potential client that could bring millions of dollars to the company. Yes, he is having a good time and ensuring the client is too. When you have gone home to have dinner, he (or she) is on his laptop reporting to his boss, placing orders configuring jobs, and much more. He is connected 24/7. His smartphone is never out of his reach. His tablet is in his car and his laptop often accompanies him to his breakfast table.
The new face of the office
In recent years the American workforce has changed considerably. The government now requires all employers with more than 50 full-time employees must offer health insurance. The rising insurance rates forced smaller businesses to reduce their number of employees. They also cut the hours of much-needed employees to 30 hours per week, so they are classified as part-time people. These changes had to be made in order for some people to keep their doors open.
Don’t misunderstand, this doesn’t mean the now 30 hours per week employees are getting a break from their jobs. In most cases, the employees are required to complete as much work as they did on their 40-hour schedule. Since an employee cannot stretch an hour they must find a way to work smarter, to be more productive. This is where having up-to-date and current software becomes critical. Jobsite managers must account for the time their employees are on the job. Human Resources must be able to quickly calculate total gross pay in seconds. This is an example of working smarter. By using the right tools, people can work more efficiently.
Photo credit: Helloquence
When Baby Boomers worked their 40-hour a week job, they could turn it off at 5:00 and leave the work in their office. If a situation required them to put in extra hours, they were paid overtime. Today’s worker takes it on themselves to work as long as they need to in order to accomplish their tasks. They know full well that there are people who will gladly step into their positions if they can’t carry the load. The result is people who never completely turn off work mode. When they are with family or friends, their phones and computers are on. When they are at the Little League game, they still get texts and calls pertaining to work. They have no boundaries, and this creates a high-pressured existence. This environment has no room for minor details like stress and sleep.
Close to 70,000 Americans take sleeping pills every night. They consume energy drinks or medications to give them energy. They take supplements or prescriptions to allow them to focus. By the end of the day, they are too wound up to sleep without sleeping pills.
Employers are beginning to see the results of their overworked employees. They also realize that this trend will not last. People feel unappreciated and their loyalty to the company begins to weaken.
It is time for managers to manage. Technology has helped create the problem and technology can help you control it.
Upgrade your office
Call in your best IT guys. Make sure your software is current or up-to-date. Arrange a training day to bring everyone up to speed. Be sure there are at least two people who know how to do the basics of your computer system.
Using technology will reduce the number of mistakes due to human error. The programs give you a clear picture of where you stand, where you are headed, and of any problems that are coming your way.
It is not about working harder, it is about being productive. It is about finding ways to squeeze in those extra touches that make your customers know you care. They used technology to get them through the decade of recession, and reorganization of the workplace. Technology grows at a massive rate. The software you used a few years ago has become obsolete. The good news is, the current technology is able to recover companies and employees. As these tools are put into place, you will see happier and healthier employees that are loyal to your company.
Guest Post by: Wendy Dessler