16/02/2012

By Ty Kiisel, Manager of Social Outreach, AtTask

Recently Ross Gittins wrote, “In the quest to lift the flagging productivity of labour, we can go back to old, failed ideas or move on to new ones.”

We need to change how we look at productivity and employee engagement if we really want to help people, projects and organizations be successful. Gittins argues monetary incentives might, at first glance, make sense, but aren’t very successful in the real world.

“Workers do care about pay, but they care less about the absolute level of their pay than about the relative level–that is, what they’re getting compared to what others are getting, particularly those they consider their equals...”

This is particularly true of the Millennial Generation. Cisco’s second annual Connected to World Technology Report, revealed some interesting information about our younger colleagues. The report suggests, 40% of college students and 45% of young professionals would accept lower-paying jobs if they had more access to social media, more choices in the devices they use at work and more flexibility in working remotely. Over half of students surveyed said they would not accept a job offer or would join and find a way to circumvent any policy that banned access to networks like Facebook at work.

Many business leaders might read this report with some consternation in fear of abuse; I believe there is an opportunity to leverage this information to help people actually be more productive.

It’s no secret the lines between work life and personal life have become more blurred in recent years. Smartphones, laptop computers and tablets enable people to stay connected almost everywhere. My employer provides us with an iPhone and expects us to use if for personal as well as professional purposes. Of course, the golden iPhone tether gives them access 24/7–but few employees are required to take after-hours phone calls or answer emails. However, there are times when it’s easier for me to take a call or reply to an email on a Saturday afternoon instead of waiting until Monday morning. My professional and private life is less compartmentalized than 30 years ago–it’s just my life.

Gen Y has been collaborating on teams since elementary school. The same is true for the technology that facilitates collaboration via social media. This trend isn’t changing anytime soon. If colleagues at work are included within their “social network” people can collaborate about work issues the same way they collaborate via their smartphones and other mobile technology via social media. This is a potential win for smart organizations.

Making business software accessible via mobile devices makes sense for my company. AtTask iPhone and Android apps allow people to update task status, receive messages, and respond to project-related questions and issues anywhere they are–allowing collaboration to take place naturally, anytime.

Would I choose Facebook over a bump in salary? Nope. But I communicate, collaborate and otherwise productively get work done every day using social media-inspired work management tools.

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