Spot-Light Wednesday: Productivity

26 August, 20213 min read
Spot-Light Wednesday: Productivity
Graham Ralston
Operations at Spot


We’ve all heard about “the great resignation.” It’s affecting businesses differently - great talent is hard to come by as you attempt to grow, you may be facing retention difficulties of tenured talent, or overall morale is hard to sustain. That’s the reason we led our Spot-light Wednesday series with recruitment, diversity/equity/inclusion, and culture -- if you create an infrastructure with the right people, equity, and culture then you are already #winning. For any of my fellow amateur chefs out there (pointing my wooden spoon at you) -- the right workplace infrastructure to maximize productivity is like starting your meal by picking out the highest quality ingredients from the store first (vegetables, meats, etc.). Once you have the infrastructure in place now it’s all about how you season and cook it up. Who's ready to cook up some productivity with me!?

In a Spot Kitchen

Pre 2020:

When teams were in the office they would see other people working. There is a subliminal booster of productivity, accountability, and solidarity when people are working within visual distance of one another. Current platforms like Zoom, Teams, and Slack, fail to provide a consistent presence for the employee and team. These platforms provide a means for consistent chat -- but not consistent presence.

How do we adapt?

Making drastic change overnight is bound to lead to resistance from your team, while incremental change, and pattern matching to similar, more comfortable activities, will drive an embrace of the change. Take, for example, familiarity with popular video games.

Consistent presence in Spot is created through our representation as virtual avatars in an “always-on” 3D virtual environment. We know that people enjoy the virtual presence, community, and collaboration through virtual avatars, evidenced by the 33 million people who play Sims 4 and over 100 million people that play Minecraft. The benefits of virtual gaming from platforms like Spot are documented in the U.S. National Institute of Health who summarize a study on virtual gaming/platforms “the present systematic review gives evidences of benefits of video game trainings on cognitive and emotional skills in relation to the healthy adult population, especially on young adults. Efficacy has been demonstrated not only for non-commercial video games or commercial brain-training programs, but for commercial video games as well...empirical evidences were identified for all the training outcomes, showing the potential effectiveness of video games for the training of both cognitive (i.e., multiple domain, processing speed and RTs, memory, task-switching/multitasking, mental spatial rotation), and emotional skills.” More to come on benefits of virtual platforms in a future post!

What are the experts saying?

When measuring productivity I like a quote from Tim Ferriss (entrepreneur and author of The 4-hour Workweek), “Focus on being productive instead of busy”. An article from consulting experts, Mckinsey, elaborates on this  quote that “metrics focused on inputs or volume of activity have always been a poor substitute for the true productivity that boosts outcomes and results, no matter how soothing it might be to look at the company parking lot to see all the employees who have arrived early in the day, and all those who are leaving late. Applied to a hybrid model, counting inputs might leave you grasping at the number of hours that employees are spending in front of their computers and logged into your servers. Yet the small teams that are the lifeblood of today’s organizational success thrive with empowering, less-controlling management styles. Better to define the outcomes you expect from your small teams rather than the specific activities or the time spent on them.” The Mckinsey report continues to emphasize the initial infrastructure put in place by leadership focusing on culture, hiring the right people, leadership and creating clear norms and trust-based relationships with workflows and routines.

Conflicting reports were floating through the internet that employees are more/less productive throughout 2020 & 2021. While it’s ultimately up to you to decipher these articles as applicable for the industry you’re in, and the types of employees that are remote, at Spot, we believe that the remote workforce is here to stay. It’s now up to you, as a leader, to create the most productive and cohesive team you can, with existing and future tools available to you, and we’re happy to share the learnings we’ve found from countless remote leaders like yourself.

How is your company fostering an infrastructure for productivity? Share your best practices with the Spot community.

In case any of you were wondering... my go to meal is a mushroom/prosciutto risotto, fresh wild salmon (when in season), and a seasonal green vegetable to go with. Hit me up for some recipes or some live cooking in Spot!

A small office floorplan

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