Employee engagement is a hot topic right now. And yet, employee engagement worldwide is dreadfully low. To add to this problem, myths about what actually creates engagement are rampant—and are making the problem worse. Here we list 4 common employee engagement myths that simply aren’t true.
Myth 1: Open office space will make people more engaged and productive
The open-office design was supposed to encourage employees to interact face-to-face. And yet, it gives us a reason to do the opposite. Studies have found that noise is the top complaint from employees who work in open offices.
56% of North American office workers say that loud coworkers distract them from doing their best work. – 2016 Staples Business Advantage Workplace Index.
Another study has found a negative relationship between the number of coworkers sharing an office and employees’ job satisfaction, and higher levels of stress, conflict, and blood pressure in addition to an increase in staff turnover in workplaces that have open offices have been found.
That is not to say that open office space is a bad idea – it definitely has it’s benefits such as reducing cost for businesses. But these might come secondary to job satisfaction and well-being. If the aim is to encourage collaboration, you need to increase the right kinds of interactions. Find a happy middle ground that encourages collaboration, but also have private spaces where people can do work (especially work that requires focus and concentration).
Myth 2: The workers that work the longest hours are the most productive
First in, last out might be the model NFL coaches use, but it sets a bad precedence in your workplace. Employee stress is felt by the majority of workers, and while some stress can lead to optimal performance, too much stress or too high of a stress can do the opposite. It can also lead to employee burnout. While certain projects may cause employees to stay long evenings in their office, encourage a healthy work-life balance to keep your employees engaged and motivated.
Myth 3: Frequent breaks are a sign of unengaged or unproductive workers
Nearly 20% of North American workers worry their bosses won’t think they are hardworking if they take lunch breaks and 13% of workers worry that their co-workers will judge them. However, a survey found that employees who take a daily lunch break feel more valued by their employer, and 81% of them have a strong desire to be an active member in their company.
Taking a lunch break or taking regular, short breaks can often increase the likelihood of the employee working much more effectively when they are at their desks. Psychology research has shown that taking breaks can prevent ‘decision fatigue’, increase an employee’s motivation, mental, and emotional health, and improve employee learning. Bottom line, encourage your employees to take short breaks to keep them productive.
Myth 4: Remote workers are unproductive
While there are disadvantages to remote working (you can read more about the advantages and disadvantages here), unproductive workers is not one of them. In fact, studies have found the exact opposite. A two year study by Stanford found that working at home increased productivity by 13%! In addition to higher productivity, remote workers also express higher job satisfaction. Happy workers are productive workers. Want to know how remote working can work with your team? Read our article on remote working for some tips!
Let us know about any other engagement myths that we might have missed!