It is no argument that we are creatures of habit. In fact, whole books have been devoted to the habits of human behavior. Habits feel good. Recent studies show that developing positive work habits can even increase productivity in the office. So managers should consider how developing positive habits can help employees get the most out of their productive week.
Could your organization help employees create habits that will make them healthy and productive? If so, what would those habits be? How would you encourage employees to develop these habits? How could you support employees in making these habits persist long term?
Step One: Consider what are the healthy and productive habits.
Every organization has unique needs and definitions of what a productive employee is. However, a handful of positive habits can be applied at most companies in order to inspire employees to be the best versions of themselves.
- Wellbeing – Encourage employees to take care of themselves. Simple steps can lead to huge improvements. If an employee is distracted by personal health or financial concerns the quality of their work may be compromised. When employees develop healthy habits, they will have more energy and take less sick days. Managers can implement wellness and financial education programs for employees.
- Communication – Transparency and feedback are key to a productive workforce. If employees are uncertain of their future or feel that they are not heard, they are less likely to be compelled to put all of their effort into their work. By promoting the habits of open communication, employees will feel included and therefore more devoted to the company.
- Appreciation– Another habit that will improve employee performance is encouraging a culture of appreciation. When employees feel appreciated and supported office morale and loyalty improves.
- Taking part in work events – Managers can create routine events to celebrate employees or allow them to let off some steam. These events can take place in the workplace or off-site. Employees spend a large portion of their day at work and socializing contributes to their overall wellbeing. Research from Willis Towers Watson shows that these face to face interactions help employees feel connected to each other and their company.
Step Two: Communicate Effectively
Once the habits that align with the goals of the company have been identified, how do you begin the process of implementing them? Managers need a plan on how to effectively promote these new behaviors and habits. Developing a strategy for communicating the company’s habit goals is key to making them a success.
Managers need to communicate with workers based on each employees’ personal preferences. We saw an explosion in the use of personal computers, the internet, and emails in the last 20 years. We are now transitioning to personal cell phones, with people carrying their mini-computers in their pockets and starting to do much of their day-to-day work on them. As a result, many managers are finding that the best way to communicate with workers is on their cellphones. Further, we are also reaching a new generation of workers who prefer different models of communication than traditional email. These new models include videos and push notifications.
But how do you organize all of a company’s tools and resources and make them available on a cell phone? An easy solution is to create a company mobile app. This mobile app needs to be simple enough to be easy to navigate, but have enough power to include the resources that the employees need frequently. This will help employees develop a habit of going to the mobile app for their work-related needs.
Step 3: Creating and Encouraging Those Habits
An important factor that leads to the successful adoption of positive habits is establishing a long-term strategy to continuously encourage employee participation. Just simply providing the resources to kick-start these habits is not going to be enough. Managers need to take an active role and be right there with employees in developing and maintaining these new behaviors. Constant communication, through push notification or events, can lead to a higher adoption rate and increased employee productivity.
Habits can have an impact on employee performance and in turn, affect your company’s reputation. Managers need to understand how developing positive habits can benefit the employees and the company’s bottom line. Good habits can also build trust and loyalty. However, it takes several weeks of practice for new behaviors to become new habits. So it is vital that managers develop a long-term strategy that includes an easy-to-use tool in order to help employees keep those habits.