Long Weekends and Productivity – What You Need Know Before the Weekend

Everyone enjoys a long weekend – having an extra day off work every once in a while is a good way to reduce stress, increase relaxation and spend some extra time doing the things you love. However, sometimes returning to work after a long weekend can be overwhelming – you may feel like you don’t have time to get all your work done in four days, or perhaps you’re struggling to get back into the swing of things after an extra day away. In a recent study, 48% of workers claimed that their productivity diminishes just before or right after a long weekend (Stackliving, 2018). With the long weekend just hours away, we wanted to provide some information about importance and maintenance of productivity in the workplace, and the steps you can take to achieve optimal results.

The Effects of Low Productivity

Having low productivity among your employees produces negative outcomes for everyone involved – if one employee isn’t sufficiently completing tasks, it can cause strain on other employees, the manager, and the business as a whole. Low employee productivity can result in low profitability for the business, which in turn can result in downsizing, low morale and job loss (Kokemuller, 2017). It’s been shown that there is a strong correlation between employee motivation and productivity – typically, if an individual is unmotivated, their productivity levels will be low and vice versa (Scott). Being unmotivated and having low productivity results in decreased work, which means that employees fall behind and may have a hard time catching up – which can result in higher levels of absenteeism, further decrease in motivation and productivity, and employee dissatisfaction (Kokemuller, 2017).

Tips to Increase Productivity – For the Employee & Employer

There are several things that an employee can do to ensure their productivity doesn’t decline following a long-weekend. Here are just a few tips to help employees keep on track:

  • Create a plan – plan your first day back and stick to it. It sounds simple, but having an outline of your to-do list and goals will help you stay on track
  • Have an email system – look through your emails and decide what needs to be addressed right away and what can wait until later – then dedicate an amount of time and alternate between emails and work. For example, 30 minutes of email attention and then one hour of work – Don’t try to do both at once!
  • Remain positive – even though you have work to catch up on, remind yourself of what you have to enjoy during your time away from work! (May, 2017).
  • Check your work environment – the temperature and lighting of your work space influence productivity! Studies show sufficient natural light and a temperature of 70-72 degrees Fahrenheit increase productivity (Kokemuller, 2017)
  • Take care of yourself – even though you may feel overwhelmed and eager to get your task list completed, don’t skip lunch or scheduled breaks: people tend to be less productive when they are hungry or don’t take time to recharge (2017)

As an employer, employee productivity should be a top priority. Aside from giving their employees the above tips to increase their own productivity, there are things an employer can do to motivate and boost productivity in their employees. Here are some tips that are effective in increasing your employee’s productivity, after a long week-end and all year round:

  • Assess Psychological health and safety in the workplace – consider an audit of the risk factors that may be contributing to employee disengagement or distress
  • Recognize their contributions and successes – employees tend to be more productive when they feel their work is being recognized and rewarded (Scott)
  • Know your employees – find out what motivational factors influence your employees and look at what jobs in the workplace each employee enjoys doing – workers are typically more productive when they are doing a job they enjoy
  • Track your employees progress – having evidence of the type of work your employee typically produces helps an employer see when they are being less or more productive – having structured key performance indicators that are easily captured can reinforce an employee’s successes and challenges in the role
  • Try empowerment techniques – giving employees authority to make basic decisions increases their feelings of self-worth which often leads to an increase in productivity
  • Engage employees – help the employee to find the WHY in what you do.  Reinforce the vision and how that employee fits with your important vision and mission.

What if Low Productivity isn’t just a Post-Vacation Slump?

So what happens if an employee is exhibiting low productivity over a period of time and it’s becoming clear that it’s not a matter of the long-weekend blues? It’s possible that there may be some deeper underlying health issues, and it may be time to seek out professional assistance for your workplace. An Occupational Therapist is a regulated health professional who helps solve problems that interfere with a person’s ability to do the things that are important to them, including being productive in the workplace. An Occupational Therapist can assess the employee, their work tasks and work station to provide a clear understanding of the employee’s abilities and support the employee and employer with strategies to assist the employee with working productively in the role.  We call this Success Coaching.

If the productivity or performance issues are caused by a health or disability concern you as an employer have a”duty to inquire”.  What does the duty to inquire mean?  This occurs when an employee is struggling and the employer ought reasonably to have known that it may be related to a health issue or disability.  The manager or employer has a duty to inquire if there is a need for accommodation or any supports that would allow the employee to be successful again in the workplace. (OHRC, 2016).  When in the performance coaching meeting remember to ask about accommodations or supports that the employee requires and consider an occupational therapy assessment to assist in finding stay at work strategies for the employee.

Watch this video by Gowan Consulting‘s Occupational Therapist Melanie Weller for a better understanding of the role of an Occupational Therapist and the ways they can assist your workplace.

Gowan Consulting knows that work is healthy and safe when it provides meaningful and productive activities for employees. If you’ve noticed a decline in productivity among an employee, contact us for more information on the services we can provide – early intervention and prevention strategies are one of the best courses of action to ensure stay at work solutions.

Works Cited

Kokemuller, Neil. (2017, September 26). The Effects of Low Productivity in the Workplace. Bizfluent. Retrieved from https://bizfluent.com/info-7742832-effects-low-productivity-workplace.html

May, Tom. (2017, April 18). How to be productive after a long weekend. Retrieved from https://www.creativeboom.com/tips/how-to-be-productive-after-a-long-weekend/

OHRC (2016) Ableism and Discrimination Based on Disability Policy

Scott, Sherrie. (n.d.). Motivation & Productivity in the Workplace. Small Business – Chron.com. Retrieved from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/motivation-productivity-workplace-10692.html

Stackliving. (2018). 21 Ways to Reset your Productivity after a Long Weekend. Retrieved from http://www.stackliving.com/21-ways-reset-productivity-long-weekend/ 

Feature image retrieved from google.ca/images/productivity

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