Injecting Fun & Excitement into Work Through Gamification

Avid gamers are all too familiar with this sequence of events: Your stomach is growling and you start to feel a strong urge to use the restroom but you think, “After the next level!” Hours later, being transfixed by your own progress through a difficult stage in the game, you still haven’t budged as the next big “level up” is quickly approaching and you’re trying, with all the inner strength you can muster, to ignore “nature’s calls.” I think it’s safe to say that, for a majority of us, this level of engrossment is rarely found at our jobs. This is why, at a much earlier stage in my life, my dream was to be a video game tester. Upon looking around at the different types of jobs and career paths out there, I didn’t think this level of absorption and investment could be experienced elsewhere. However, my current understanding is that there hasn’t been a whole lot of interest and effort to produce this type of engagement at most organizations. So I ask disengaged workers, wouldn’t it be great to feel just a tad like this at your job? Continue reading

Being bored (and zoning out) at work can make us more creative?

English: A bored person

English: A bored person (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Having written about the problem of boredom at work (where an individual’s skill level surpasses the challenge of the tasks), lets turn now to one of the possible benefits of boredom… creativity! The following article was very interesting indeed: Being bored at work can make us more creative. Some excerpts follow:

Most of us think of being bored at work as a negative experience, but a new study suggests it can have positive results including an increase in creativity because it gives us time to daydream.

I do find that daydreaming fuels my creativity, although I can imagine this generally being a tough sell to employers. Also, it turns out that zoning out can also help boost creative problem-solving (see More Than Just ‘Zoning Out’: Exploring the Cognitive Processes Behind Mind Wandering). Even better huh? Continuing on with the article: Continue reading

Why Managing Sucks and How to Fix it

Conventional wisdom posits that the needs of employees and their employer are at odds with each other, however this assumption is not necessarily true. A mutually symbiotic relationship granting employees freedom and flexibility while increasing engagement and, hence, productivity is achievable! Why Managing Sucks and How to Fix it: A Results-Only Guide to Taking Control of Work, Not People will force you to examine how you think about work as well as how we unknowingly support the current, conventional view of work through the establishment and use of flexible work arrangements. Conventional flexible work arrangements, by the way, can’t achieve what a results-only work environment (ROWE) can. Continue reading

Surveillance at Work: Issues and Recommendations

The possibility of employers checking potential hires’ social networking sites to attain a more in-depth look at what candidates might really be like is now common knowledge. Likewise, most people also know that employers are increasingly monitoring their computer activities at work and that this can come in the form of programs that track time spent on work related and non-work related software as well as the types of websites you visit. These have become part of a “new normal.” However, surveillance can be more invasive and extend beyond the workplace itself. It can come in the form of tracking, through GPS, where you drive the company vehicle or employers’ hiring private investigators to verify health or injury claims as the following video shows: Continue reading

A Looking Busy Coach! Plus, Who Pretends to Work and Why?

Still not convinced that there is a pretending-to-work phenomenon? To follow-up on my previous post, They need to see you there to know that you are working… Not!,  this post explores answers to who is likely to pretend to work and why. After digging deeper on the Internet for more information on this topic, I discovered a unique coaching service catering to employees at the website Looking Busy: 50 Ways to Look Busy at Work Even When You’re Not.

According to this website, Looking Busy coach, Jay Schorr has over 15 years of experience looking busy at work and is in demand by both employees interested in learning how to look busy and by managers interested in identifying “looking busy” behavior. Now curious, I emailed him to inquire if he is currently coaching and asked how he came to the realization that his service would be helpful to many people. The answer is, yes, he is currently coaching. Moreover, Jay Schorr’s response addresses why it behooves employees to act busy: Continue reading

When Email is Better than Skype and Face-to-Face Communication

As mentioned in a previous post, I’m going to share my own personal experience with a cross-cultural communication problem that only reared its ugly head when visual cues were available. Thus, this post may substantially depart from my usual writing style. Continue reading

The Engagement Equation: Leadership Strategies for an Inspired Workforce

In The Engagement Equation: Leadership Strategies for an Inspired Workforce, authors Christopher Rice, Fraser Marlow, and Mary Ann Masarech provide a thorough guide for organizational leaders interested in improving work engagement. At the outset, they establish that engagement is a unique construct that is distinguishable from satisfaction, motivation, and commitment. Furthermore, employee engagement is an individualized equation expressed as the combination of maximum satisfaction for the individual and maximum contribution for the organization. From there, they discuss particular industries (e.g., where there is a high degree of interaction with customers) in which employee engagement particularly impacts results. Additionally, the authors caution against assuming measures that have increased engagement in one geographic region would similarly increase engagement in another. Continue reading