HubEngage Workplace productivity

For five years, Chris Dancy has been collecting oodles of data about himself. 

He wears gadgets including a Fitbit, BodyMedia Fit, Lumoback, Pebble Smartwatch, Apple Watch, Blue HR and more and uses 700 sensors, applications and services to track, analyze and optimize his life. 

All this earned him the title of “The Most Connected Man on Earth.”

Dancy has been interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, Wired magazine and Businessweek and regularly delivers keynote addresses and leads workshops on digital health, privacy and technology.

The man knows a thing or two about using technology to improve your health, productivity and quality of life. He has plenty of ideas for how companies can take advantage of data generated by their employees, in-office sensors and more flexible workplace policies to improve efficiency and morale.

Data on Employee Habits Reveals Efficiency Killers

There is plenty of information readily available to employers today that can help them not only better understand their employees, but also help them become more effective employees.

Dancy recommends looking in on employees calendars– not to read specifics­­– but to see how many meetings they have in a given day. 

People with back-to-back meetings all day tend to go home and do work there, which could lead to burnout and low job satisfaction down the road. To help mitigate overloaded schedules, Dancy is a big proponent of walking meetings.

“You can’t talk long when you’re winded,” he says. “People don’t go to as many meetings when they have to walk.”

Another piece of data to look at is the amount of time employees spend in their email inbox, another common efficiency killer. 

To get a clearer picture of how employees are using their time, Dancy recommends measuring both the time spent in productivity killers like email, meetings and commuting and also the time not spent doing those things. 

Look at the time spent in tools that are associated with productivity. People who are getting the most work done tend to spend time in creation tools– Word, PowerPoint, Excel or the Adobe Creative Suite or in research tools like Wikipedia, YouTube, PDF or file sharing systems.

Employers can also look at things like commute times. Longer commutes contribute not only to inefficiency, but are also a big mood killer, Dancy says. While it is not necessarily a great idea to have everyone work from home (we tried that in the 90s and that did not work well for corporations, Dancy says) he thinks giving employees a more flexible work schedule and providing them with temporary environments where they can get things done, like using a co-working space, helps improve morale.

“Think about when you were in school, your favorite day as a child was going on a field trip,” he says.

There is no shortage of the types of useful information an organization can collect about its employees. One thing he has tried during workshops, but does not necessarily recommend for companies is having employees wear pulse oximeters, which measure people’s heart rates and blood oxygen levels, during meetings. You can see when people are stressed out, and get clues about who in the meeting might need attention for which they are not asking.

Finally, companies should be more thoughtful about how they approach rewarding employees for healthy behaviors. Rather than focusing on how many steps an employee has taken in a day, they should look at more meaningful data.

“If you want to award your employees, measure sleep and award the ones who sleep the best,” Dancy says.



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