The buzz about Amazon these days is what city the online retailer will select as the site for its second headquarters, but there is another process the company is currently conducting that could ultimately have a larger impact on work culture across America. A year ago, a small group of Amazon employees began working 30-hour work weeks in an experiment to see if increased work/life balance increases employee productivity. The Amazon workers start their day at 10 a.m. and end at 2 p.m., earn 75 percent of their normal salary and keep their full benefits. Limits To How Long We Stay Focused Amazon is not a pioneer in thinking that shorter, more concentrated work hours could increase worker morale and
Say what you will about “cube farms,” the row upon row of fabricated walls without doors that make up many of today’s offices, new research from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University suggests that high-performers actually boost the productivity of those around them. Research led by Michael Housman and Dylan Minor discovered that workers who sat within a 25-foot radius of high-performers at a large technology firm boosted their own performance by an average of 15 percent. Minor calls it “positive spillover,” and says it translates to an estimated $1 million in additional annual profits. “We’ve known since kindergarten that who you sit next to can matter,” Minor says. But performance in the workplace is more complicated than
As many as eight in 10 companies, including button-down bluebloods such as General Electric and Goldman Sachs, are overhauling or planning to overhaul their performance review process, according to consulting firm Deloitte. A widely recognized problem with annual performance reviews is that, in today’s rapidly changing business world, much of the information presented in annual or even semiannual reviews is outdated and obsolete. Managers and employees find themselves assessing projects that were completed months earlier or discussing strategic changes that have long since been implemented. A shift to assessing workers’ performance in real time is underway. “Performance is an ongoing activity, it’s every day,” says Pierre Naterme, CEO of Accenture, one company that is reshaping its employee performance review policies.
Like many workers today, Michael Grothaus’ morning commute is from his bed to his home office. And like many adults – those who work from home and those who have a more traditional commute – Grothaus skips breakfast and fuels his morning with a cup of coffee (or two or three). Curious whether eating a regular breakfast would improve his productivity, Grothaus committed to eating a more substantial morning meal for two weeks and tracked how he felt each day. He was skeptical going into the experiment, pointing out the tenet “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” that everyone heard from their mom was actually concocted as a lobbying effort in the early 20th century by John