Let’s go with the Flow

Have you heard of the Flow State? 

 

Wise men say, if you truly enjoy what you do, you never know where the time flew… Sounds doubtful, right? It did to me as well. In fact, when I was new to this world, it was especially difficult for me to figure out how people were so engrossed in work, yet happy. I also couldn’t figure how they would achieve so much without feeling stressed and most importantly, I couldn’t figure out what I had to do to get there. 

To be honest, much as I tried, it seemed impossible for me to solve this. To love your job was one thing, but to achieve so much, an absolute mystery. However, things became clearer when I was introduced to the idea of the Flow State. 

For the uninitiated, the Flow State is one where people are so immersed in what they are doing that there is little scope for them to even acknowledge something that isn’t a part of their plan of action. 

 

Rules that make it Flow 

 

The idea of being so engrossed at work that your productivity is at its optimum is a great thought, but putting it in action takes effort and quite a bit of discipline. And here’s what makes it tick. 

  • Define your goals. Unless you know what you have to do, achieving them can be very, very hard. 
  • Eliminate distractions, internal and external. If you have your mind wandering, trying to figure things that aren’t on your To Do list, chances are, you’ll end up confused and distracted. 
  • Know what you can achieve. It is important to have a realistic idea about your skills, talents and limitations. Biting off more than you can chew can often lead to burnouts which are more evil than good. 
  • Be able to judge yourself. There’s no point in toiling for hours if you are incapable of judging your progress and performance. When you fail to do so, you often end up having to redo most of what you spend hours on completing. 
  • It might be hard, but loosening up and saying goodbye to self-consciousness is a very important part of the process. You see, it is only when you bid goodbye to relevant inhibitions that you can truly experience peace. 
  • Don’t try to track yourself in terms of time. While it is important to be able to finish work on time, giving yourself strict deadlines won’t help at all. 
  • Be in control of the situation. If you feel like you’re flailing, chances for panic modes to set in are very high.
  • Make sure you love what you’re doing. If there’s no love, there is no scope to go with the flow! 

 

Flow at work 

 

While most cases of Flow are linked to success stories of writers, artists or athletes, it thankfully isn’t restricted to only creative professions. If you think about it, Flow can easily occur when you are so focused on your tasks that everything seems effortless! 

The minute you focus wholeheartedly on what you have to do, there is an immediate spike in performance.

Moreover, Flow can encourage individuals to learn more at work. Why? Skill is an integral part of achieving this state. When you lack a skill, achieving complete focus can be harder than you expect. In fact, it might even seem boring without anything challenging your abilities after the first few times. 

Being engaged at work is not merely about turning up everyday and sitting at your chair for 8 straight hours or more. Those who have experienced Flow know better. When you are so engrossed in work that you love, not only does the quality of your work improve, it also leads to greater work satisfaction. It also boosts creativity which in turn has a great effect on performance and productivity and even intuitive decision-making. But to expect everyone to experience this state is not the right way to go. After all, if there is no love for the job, there’s no way you can go with the flow! 

Power through: with a nap!

Have you ever helped yourself to a large lunch at work and couldn’t but help doze off at your desk? If you have, you’re probably no stranger to the hell that follows. You see, dozing off at work is a rather unforgivable sin at the work spaces and places that we are used to. But did you know, things are not quite the same all over the world? You see, there are some places where falling asleep on the job is absolutely acceptable. Don’t believe us? Allow us to introduce you to Inemuri. The Japanese art of sleeping on the job. 

Translated from Japanese into “asleep while being present”, Inemuri is a way of life that only adults seem to be familiar with. While children have Hirune or specific nap times allocated for them, for Japanese adults, things are quite different. At the end of the day, they are known to be some of the hardest working people on the planet!

 

Nap here, nap now!

 

It was during one of my trips to Japan several years ago that I was introduced to this very interesting, but alien concept. I was used to a 9-5 work life in India and if anything, sleeping on the job, in my workplace was absolutely unacceptable. Even if we had pulled an all-nighter and could barely keep our eyes open the next day. In a haze of coffee and sleeplessness, the hours spent at work were rather… unproductive. 

In Japan, I realized that there was a rather simple solution to deal with all those extra hours, all that hustling and the inevitable burning out because you were too busy trying to keep your eyes open. Yes, you guessed it right: urban napping! 

 

The power of naps

 

To be honest, if you really think about it, you’ll realise that gone are the days when organizations looked down upon an employee dozing off. In fact, if you take a look around any modern organization that is known to care for its employees, you’ll see tons of sleeperies and sleeping pods in place, offering respite from the long, stressful hours you spend toiling away at work. 

Did you know, that power naps do quite a bit more than help you combat mental and physical exhaustion. They boost your memory, help you learn and understand better, impact your creativity positively, and even makes you more alert. But if they really do help so much, you must be wondering, why are people so apprehensive of them? To be honest, you can’t really blame them.

 

The rules of the naps

 

After all, not all naps are equal, some just end up making you feel worse. Thing is, if you don’t know the rules of Inemuri, you will wake up groggy, disoriented and desperate to go back to sleep! 

For starters, you must know how to respect everyone’s space. Dozing off can often mean that you have no idea where your head is lolling off to. And while it might help you, it might endlessly annoy your colleague whose bag you have ended up using as your pillow! If you really have to use a bag, make sure its your own. Plus it makes sure that no one has access to it while you’re in dreamland. 

Even though sleep is about comfort, it isn’t particularly advised to drag up several chairs to make a bed out of it on the work floor. Sleeping on the table resting your head on it might not be the most comfortable thing to do, but we aren’t trying to get a good night’s sleep here, you see. 

Snoring, though uncontrollable, can prove to be quite the Inemuri sin. The thing about public napping is ensuring that no one else around you is disturbed. And the one thing loud snores do ensure is public disgruntlement. 

Similarly, it isn’t recommended to keep your phone on loud as you wait for your alarm to wake you up. Especially when others are busy at work and don’t want shrill rings to distract them! 

In case you see a fellow colleague over-sleeping, it isn’t rude to wake them up. In fact, if you see a friend looking visibly exhausted, don’t hesitate to urge them to take that quick nap! 

However, embracing Inemuri in no way means embracing a toxic work culture that forces you to work so hard that you can barely keep yourself together. It doesn’t mean hustling 24X7 and it most definitely doesn’t mean becoming a slave to your workplace. What it simply means is making sure that you don’t burn out trying to get everything done when work hours seem long and deadlines overwhelming! 

HRMS of Future, will be about less-is-more

The genesis of any product is identifying the stakeholders. Basically, “who are you building this product for?”

This is precisely, where we have gone wrong with HRMS of the past.

 

Look at any of the legacy HR-tech solutions. What do you see? Mammoth heavy-duty, feature overloaded (“15000-feature solutions” as I like to call them), chunky software, based on super-standardized HR processes. Uncannily, they sync well with existing IT workflows in the organization, which makes for a strong selling point. I have a question at this stage. Whose life becomes easier with the above? 

The lives of the department that needs to administer these processes, i.e. HR and IT. These functions are also typically the decision-makers of an HRMS purchase. In other words, HR and IT are the “customers”, i.e. buyers. In itself, that is not a problem. 

Problem is this.

Who are the actual end-users? The “consumer”? 

Employees. 

 

And the problem is, the entire HRMS product design caters to the “buyer of the product” and completely overlooks the experience of “user of the product”. 

 

Philosophically, this is what I call a “point-of-sale” approach. The product design is focused on what makes it easier to sell to the buyer, instead of improving the experience of the user. 

Unfortunately for the sale-driven products, employees are becoming increasingly empowered. They no longer accept an experience imposed on them, nor have qualms making themselves heard, and worse – walking away. Therefore, this strategy will no longer work. Simply put, HRMS design simply cannot afford to ignore this user. 

 

Here is what I think, will work.

 

HRMS of the future will be about doing a few things really well. Innovation will be, not in terms of the number of features, but going in-depth into each process. This coincides with the evolving HR approach of acknowledging each employee as unique, requiring a unique approach. Tech products will need to support those micro-processes, naturally requiring deep solutions. 

For example, to date, we have blanket compensation structures for all employees. But don’t we all have different needs at different points in time? Some may need more cash, and others more benefits. 

Similarly, for learning. Why do we have mass training workshops? Wouldn’t micro-modules of learning, at the time you need it, work better?

 

But do HRMS tools enable a unique approach for every employee? No.

 

But they will need to.

This is why organizations need to choose specialized deep solutions, instead of bulky platforms that try to solve all problems; but end up addressing none, effectively.

 

Yes, I know the questions you want to ask at this stage.

 

1. Wouldn’t it be a challenge for employees to engage with multiple specialized tools instead of one standardized end-to-end HRMS?

This answer is simple. 

Today technology has made it possible. API integration allows organizations to bring together multiple deep-solutions to build a consortium of HRMS, where the tools can talk to each other, and employees interact across tools, effortlessly. 

2. Will it cost us more?

This answer is more of a question. 

We are talking of HR as a strategic partner today. If that be true, for how much longer will it take for us to transition from “cost-saving” to “value-creation”? The Indian HR market has been marred by the approach of 30 rupees-per employee for checking all boxes. Actually, I am asked this question often. Sometimes my question in return is, “how much do you spend on toilet paper?” The new age HRMS might cost less than that.

As I see it, the cost is not so much an issue. It is the inconvenience of change.

Elon Musk said, “Some people don’t like change, but you need to embrace change if the alternative is a disaster.”

Ignoring the empowered employee of today is nothing short of business disaster. This has been established often enough. Therefore, the only option is to change the way we approach HRMS in future.

And in that future, HRMS will need to be about, less-is-more.

 

Is it time to welcome decentralised workplaces?

When I was young and less experienced than I am now, the thing that I hated the most about work was the fact that I had to be in office for 8 lengthy hours whether I had work or not. Now, while that idea doesn’t seem so bad in 2019, life back in the day was not half as interesting online. So unless you were really good at creatively wasting time in the office, sitting through long, empty hours was excruciating. 

You see, earlier, workspaces used to flourish under rules and regulations that made sure that everyone was present in the office at the same time, putting both managers and employees on the same page in ways. But with technology and more resources that came with the digital revolution, things are thankfully changing. And one of the best things the future of work has introduced us to has been the idea of decentralised workforces. 

 

Welcome to the world of decentralised workforces 

 

If we are to take popular opinions seriously, a decentralised workplace isn’t one where all employees work from wherever they wish to. 

Inspired by the ideals of ownership, responsibility and freedom, a successful decentralised workforce is one where people shun feudal ideas like hierarchy and centralised decision making. In an attempt to disrupt the classic pyramid structure that most workforces have been used to, they value collaborations and of course, transparency. Decentralised workplaces also encourage creativity by enabling employees to take decisions without having to wait for permissions to be able to take any kind of action. 

 

Navigating through the new 

 

Though the very idea of celebrating freedom and transparency can be liberating for many, being decentralised isn’t as easy as you think.  For starters, with the idea being very, very new and not enough adopters out there, it’s never easy to figure out what you need to do when you step into this whole new world. 

Secondly, with no one in charge, unlike traditional workplaces, it can be challenging to successfully motivate employees to embrace and accept the new. 

Lastly, with the need to become more independent to fit into roles that decentralised workplaces have to offer, many find the thought of such great freedom intimidating, and thereby shy away from being what they believe can be their best. 

But with technology helping workspaces change and grow, managing a decentralised workforce isn’t as hard as you think it is. 

When there’s Dockabl, there’s a way! 

  • By prioritising simplicity and user experience, Dockabl makes sure that no user is confused or intimidated by the platform and doesn’t hesitate to use it. 
  • With a great emphasis on clear communication, users can have anchored conversations and receive actionable feedback. Thus, reducing the possibility of misunderstanding and ensuring better collaborations across teams.
  • You can actually be as flexible as you want to be. Starting from defining timelines that suit your convenience to immediately recognising people for the good work done. You can even run multiple reviews simultaneously, there’s no longer a need to adhere to old practices. 

So you see, changing times aren’t as scary as you thought them to be. If anything, it’s a whole bright future that guarantees a better life at work! 

The Future Is Here. But Are You Prepared For It?

Gone are the days where highly skilled expertise was the hero of your success story. The present and the inevitable future is quite different, to be honest. For starters, you’re in for a rather bumpy ride if you have a problem with accepting rapid changes. Why? The future of work is all about being agile, adaptable and creative. At the end of the day, how else can you keep up with such rapid changes that are constantly evolving? 

The times, as we know them, are changing. And along with it, so are workplaces. The huge shift that came about with the Digital Revolution not only introduced newer jobs and opportunities in the market, it also created a demand for newer skill sets that are a lot more fluid than we expected them to be. 

But does this mean that you should take to heart the worried whispers and be scared about what the future might hold for you? What if we told you, there’s no need to. Being prepared for the future is easier than you think it is. 

 

Flexibility bridges gaps

 

Contrary to what some believe, a Digital Revolution does not merely mean automation of specialised and general jobs. It also means greater flexibility. And with flexibility comes agile working. By shattering the age-old idea of 9 to 5 jobs, agile working allows employees to effectively be more productive. Flexible working does not only mean convenient working hours. By using technology to build robust online workspaces, companies can expand beyond geographical limitations. It also allows employees to work from anywhere, ensuring that they don’t burn out. 

By being able to access Dockabl from literally anywhere, employees no longer have to be constrained by the need to be physically present in the office. With an intuitive and easy to use interface, employees won’t waste hours keeping track of their task lists, feedback and deliverables. 

 

Learning never stops 

 

While educational institutes and degrees are important, learning on the job is no longer a matter of joke. After all, that’s how most millennials and centennials are learning. Be it videos, blog, online courses or even feedback from seniors and peers, millennials and centennials never shy away from making most of their curiosity and creativity. 

With Dockabl, the whole process of feedback becomes a lot less cumbersome than you think it is. For starters, it is no longer restricted to a few hours once a year. Additionally, it also enables you to appreciate those who have been performing exceptionally well. Not only does this give an employee a very realistic idea about how they are performing, it also gives them the space to recognise and rectify their mistakes and learn from them too. 

 

There’s more to creativity than you think 

 

Whether we want to admit to it or not, what scares us most about the future of work is the simple fact that there are high chances that the jobs we do will be taken over by AI. In simpler terms, automated. However, no matter what technology has in store for us, one thing’s for sure. There’s no way technology can replace human traits like imagination, curiosity, empathy and resilience. With these innate human capabilities being the pillars for Emotional Intelligence, Social Intelligence, Critical and Adaptive Thinking among others, workspaces devoid of these will lack character and values that make it unique. 

Easy to use and convenient too, Dockabl is perfect for setting timelines as well as giving real-time feedback.By being flexible and smart, it also helps you communicate easily with your team on the platform and recognise their strengths and weaknesses too.

Do You Know Enough About A Workplace Evil We Call Performance Reviews?

Once every year, employees seem to be hustling harder than ever. Brows creased in concentration, they click away furiously at their keyboards. Even the procrastinators and regular office sinners seem to be hard at work. Sleepless nights of making presentations might not be a regular part of everyone’s work lives, but when it comes to acing the performance review, everyone wants to show off their best – even if it is just for a few days. 

 

Welcome to the world of performance reviews 

 

It was in the 1900s with the Personnel Administrative Movement that employers realised that work satisfaction does actually yield greater productivity. Conceptualised by Frederick W Taylor, his ideals about Work Design, Work Measurement and Production Control brought about a major transformation in the field of personnel management. 

However, it was only in the 1940s that management styles actually evolved to address the social needs of employees. From being relentless taskmasters, managers around this time became more empathetic and understanding, and in ways better leaders than they were in the past. Over the next years, it scientifically evolved into a workplace philosophy that actually improved productivity and efficiency through employee satisfaction. 

 

Evolving towards the better? 

 

However, what started off as a strategy to boost productivity evolved to become a rather painstaking process that actually affected teamwork as well as workplace morale rather negatively. In 2008, UCLA professor and management Sam Culbert emphasised on its evils. 

“It’s time to finally put the performance review out of its misery,” he wrote in the book Get Rid of The Personnel Review. “This corporate sham is one of the most insidious, most damaging, and yet most ubiquitous of corporate activities. Everybody does it, and almost everyone who’s evaluated hates it. It’s a pretentious, bogus practice that produces absolutely nothing that any thinking executive should call a corporate plus,” he declared. 

 

Evil lurks around 

 

In a world that is changing rapidly thanks to technology, it is wrong to believe that trends won’t. Even if they had been proven to work scientifically in the past. If anything, performance reviews consume a tremendous amount of time, energy and resources making it an expensive affair in more than one way. With faulty performance measurement metrics ruling the roost and inconsistent feedback joining in, traditional performance reviews are nothing but stressful in the world we live in. 

  •  Timeline Trouble 

Most performance reviews end up focusing on the most recent months that lead up to the review. With the focus being strong on just a few months of work, most achievements are usually forgotten. Similarly, errors made only during the recent months come under the spotlight often making it worse than it is. This also has quite a negative impact on morale. At the end of the day, if your entire year’s work has been compressed into one presentation, there are high chances that you end up feeling tiny and insignificant.

  • Human Follies 

Performance review processes are usually rather boring. Even more for a manager. Filling out the same paperwork for multiple people can be enough of a bore for some unmotivated ones to just go with averages without actually caring about how the employee is actually performing. 

  • Feedback Failure

More often than not, feedback is just a part of the performance review process with no real follow-ups in place. While it is easy to point out someone’s errors during the review, without follow up feedbacks, it’s impossible to figure if the employee is actually working towards improvement.

 

Future Perfect? 

 

So how can we really improve the process in the future? 

In an era of technological advancements, there is little you can do apart from upping your game to be in sync with the millennials and centennials. At the end of the day, it is no secret that employees perform better when their superiors not just recognise their talents, but appreciate and reward them too. 

While traditional performance reviews failed to make the process effective personally, a smart Performance Management System like Dockabl can make all the difference your company needs! 

  • Review Routines 

With Dockabl, not only can you establish timelines for each project, you can track your employees’ progress individually, give real-time feedback to them and even follow up pretty effortlessly. 

  • Recognition Matters 

Think someone on your team did a great job on a project? You don’t have to wait for a performance review to show them your appreciation. With a number of badges to choose from on Dockabl, no employee goes unappreciated. 

  • Flexibility for the Win 

Unlike traditional performance review processes, Dockabl is smart enough to understand your needs and help you come up with custom solutions. Solutions that give you the flexibility to track, review and reward an employee to motivate them to perform better. 

  • Communication is key 

By enabling you to communicate easily with your team on the platform, Dockabl eliminates chances of miscommunication and misunderstandings. It also helps employees address issues that would otherwise have to wait for months to be addressed. 

 

In a world where efficiency, accuracy and clear communication reigns supreme, it is only with a tool that eases the process of performance reviews to make it more interactive, personal and dynamic, that they can truly recognise an employee’s strengths and weaknesses and support them to evolve professionally. 

Slow and steady, or are you just lazy?

Have you met Sloth? 

 

At the corner desk, far from peering eyes, Sloth casually lounges about. Their face keeps changing and so do their names, but their irksome traits rarely do. Sloth, given the day and the time, can either choose to go missing in action, or be struck by tragedy or instigate a distraction so overwhelming that no one remembers to check on them… At the end of the day, if there’s anything that can help them get away with doing the bare minimum to keep themselves afloat at their job, they will turn to it. 

Employees plagued by Sloth have an unending list of excuses to allow them to get away without getting much done. At times, even the things they are supposed to. Not only that, they have some rather conniving ways of delegating their tasks to their unsuspecting colleagues, adding to their stress. 

 

Are they lazy? Or is work to blame?

 

While there are employees who excel in the art of being lazy, there are some who might be struggling at work. 

  • Did you know, for instance, bad briefs can lead to an employee appear like they are not doing their best? When an employee is confused about what to get done and when it gets very difficult for them to actually get the task done. 
  • In fact, performance stress can also make an employee hesitate to do their best. Take for example the under-confident young man who shies away from all presentations, despite having put in long hours to have gotten it done. 
  • Too much work can also make some want to run for their lives. Especially if it has become a dreary part of life. So if you aren’t around, how are you ever expected to get anything done? 

 

Experience no bar 

 

Motivating someone to be productive at work can be some serious work. But it gets even more serious when its a manager who needs to be motivated. In fact, things can get much worse if Sloth has chosen to accompany someone who is capable of calling the shots. Veiled by an aura of responsibility and accountability, lazy managers usually are the ones with the unhappiest teams. Sure he takes them to team lunches and remembers birthdays, but that doesn’t stop him from walking away from all that is on his plate… we mean, desk. Reports go missing, feedback never arrives and confusion reigns supreme.

At the end of the day, almost every one of us has a horror story to share about that lazy boss who never did much, but took credit for everything their team did without batting an eyelid. Relatable much? 

 

Happy to help 

 

Though identifying Sloth can be pretty easy, most of the time, that does you no good. Usually discreet and often careful, these employees and managers don’t really leave you much space to penalise them. At the end of the day, they don’t break rules or stir up trouble. All they do is get creative about doing less than their peers and juniors while keeping their jobs intact. Annoying, yes, but nothing a little motivation can’t fix! So at Dockabl we thought long and hard to come up with a few things that can actually make a difference to your workplace. 

  • Easy of use 

Be it a long-term project, or a short-term one, setting it up and keeping track of it on Dockabl is an absolute breeze. Its weekly prioritisation of work and goals not just help you stay on track, it also allows you to manage your time better. 

  • Transparency is key 

Thanks to the Review module, able to keep track of your task force ensures that you know what they are up to and how they are performing. Coupled with the Feedback module, addressing someone’s pain points and helping them through them become a breeze. 

  • Rewards for the win 

We know the importance of recognition and we make sure that no good job, no matter how insignificant you think it is, goes unrewarded. And that’s not it, if you have done a job well, we make sure that you have badges to flaunt and rewards to wait for. 

 

Sloth, unlike most work sins can be rather benign if you know how to deal with them. At the end of the day, all you need to do is ensure that your workforce stays motivated. 

Envy’s a Little Imp. Be Careful Before You Fall Victim

There’s a little green guy who lives in all our hearts. Usually asleep, he rarely interferes with life, not allowing us to realise how ugly he can truly be. But it’s only when it raises its ugly head that you see that no one is free from his clutches or the wicked whispers he fills your mind with… And if you ask me, I’ll be yet another person to shudder and tell you that identifying this little green monster is not as easy as you think it is. 

It all started when I joined a new job a few years ago. No longer a fresher, self-doubt and low self-esteem were rapidly becoming strangers to me. My newfound confidence was not just because of the promotions. I was being recognised at work and being appreciated too. I thought nothing could go wrong. 

I was very, very wrong. 

My new job, though one of my dreams, proved to be nothing like my old one. For starters, I was a bit too late to the party and the boss had a designated favourite already. Over the days that followed, I did perform well. But it wasn’t really the same without the attention that I was used to. And before I knew it, I was noticing changes that made me feel like a stranger – even in my own body. 

 

Too Busy For You 

 

It all started with me coming up with excuses, and some very silly ones, to avoid helping my abovementioned colleague with anything. It could be something as insignificant like setting up the office printer or something as grave as presenting a pitch together – but whatever the case was, I was always busy. 

Silence To The Rescue 

 

As someone who is not an introvert, making friends in office has never been challenging for me. Neither has striking up conversations to liven up a room. But with my colleague around, I would ensure there was pin-drop silence. After all, what better way to show your displeasure. Eh? 

No Room for Compliments 

 

With everyone telling my colleague how good he was at his job, I figured that there was no need for me to do the same. So every time I had to congratulate him, I would just nod and walk away. 

Comparison Conflicts 

 

So what was so special about my colleague that he was considered to be better than me? I was so sure that there was nothing he could do that I couldn’t do better. So I strived to prove my worth, often losing sight of my goals in favour of a satiated ego… 

I wish I could tell you all about my moment of truth born of self-reflection that made me steps towards becoming a better person because that, quite frankly, would have been a more inspiring story. But unfortunately, my moment of truth arrived only when my boss decided to have a little chat with him. You see, my behaviour with my over-achieving colleague was so starkly different from my behaviour with others, it was pretty noticeable! 

It was then that I realised how wrong I had been. While snappy retorts have a charm of their own, when used mindlessly, they just come across as bitter, mean and self-centred. Not the best qualities to parade about in the office, I assure you. 

Accepting that someone like me could be envious wasn’t easy at all. All my life I had heard about how toxic an emotion it was, but there I was, succumbing to it, without knowing much about what to do to make it better. 

But I knew I had to try. 

I started with talking to myself and accepting the insecurities that made me lash out against my colleague. Then came the part where I told myself about the insecurities that come with a new job – and even though some bits might come across as threatening, it will all get better with time. At the end of the day, there still was so much I didn’t know about my colleague, but all I had chosen was hostility because I doubted if the management was truly being fair to all employees. 

Years later, when I started using Dockabl I realised that there is a rather simple solution for the likes of me, struggling to come to terms with feeling envious at work: Transparency. 

With Dockabl, not only are you allowed to effortlessly allowed to set up and keep track of your tasks, but you can also get to know how the rest of your team is progressing with their work, as well as how soon they are meeting deadlines. While that might come across as boring to most, it definitely is quite an effective tool to answer questions that arise from envy within the workplace. 

And in case your jealousy is stemming from feeling under-appreciated, Dockabl can help with that as well. With its unique rewarding system, you stand to earn points with every little milestone you achieve and redeeming those points can get you something that you’re guaranteed to love. 

Sounds better than giving in to jealousy. Does it not? 

Have you met Madame Procrastination?

Procrastination is the act of postponing tasks armed with the knowledge that you can “always get it done later”. And when it comes to your workplace, trust us when we say that there’s always more than enough room to procrastinate.

I was rather young, in my early twenties perhaps, when I first encountered Madame Procrastination. All decked up in glittery daydreams and distractions; she was quite certainly one of the most attractive things at work. Oh, the prospects of whiling your time away in between the office walls, preserving your best for the last are rather hard to avoid. So naturally, her followers were plenty and they were happy too! 

Take for example, your super-smart colleague who wastes almost all of their time only to crunch like it’s the end of the world right before a deadline! You know, the guy who is never at the team meetings? What about the other one who is always coming up with excuses for “doing it later”? And let’s not forget the ones who actually tell you that they work better if they waste time. 

Though it might seem mildly (and at times majorly) infuriating to see your colleague waste their time while you slog behind screens, you can rarely shut them up about why we must all Vote for Procrastination. After all, if you are well-versed in the art of delay, you feel that you are equipped to take better, more efficient and creative decisions that help you thrive in your dreary 9-5 job. In fact, believe it or not, hundreds of such individuals exist and firmly believe that the very act of voluntarily delaying their work enables them to tackle challenging deadlines, prioritise work and evade things that are just not important enough. 

While it might seem like a smart solution for individuals to flourish at work by doing the least they can possibly do to survive, what they don’t see is the dark side of procrastination that could lead to utter chaos. Many a times, what starts off as planned procrastination can quickly hurtle down the path of laziness, missed deadlines and a hassled team trying to do all that was left to be done at the last minute. 

If you actually get down to thinking about it, you’ll realise that procrastination never helped anyone the way motivational posts on the internet claimed they could. While losing precious hours is the most obvious drawback of procrastination, missed opportunities and deadlines, a damaged reputation and low-self esteem also make this workplace sin so utterly deadly.

But despite being plagued by procrastination, there is no reason for us to give in and accept it as the order of the day. And at Dockabl, we spent a lot of hours to finally figure out how to fight the evil charms of procrastination. 

Break down work: 

 

Setting up multiple, small tasks might seem futile, but we’ve realised that breaking up a large project into smaller tasks and deadlines keep procrastination at bay. Not only do employees feel less intimidated with smaller deadlines to meet, work pressure is evenly distributed allowing every person involved to realise what an important role they each play. 

 

Track progress: 

 

While tracking adults might come across as insulting to some, for a company, it is quite an invaluable action. Not only do they get to know who’s working earnestly and who are lazing their time away, but it also helps get a clear vision about goals, ensures that no single member of the team is overworked and even helps establish good practices that keep procrastination at bay.

 

Transparency and Accountability: 

 

If your employees believe that the work they do is not important enough, chances are, they will avoid it the best they can. By creating transparent processes that allow employees to manage their work and time better, daily reports become less boring than you expect them to. When everyone joins in to put their best selves forward, chances are, procrastinators will up their game as well. 

 

Rewards for the win

 

Every action has a reaction. And we believe that your work should too. With Dockabl, not only is recognizing hard-working employees a breeze, appreciating them is easier than you think it is. At the end of the day, little rewards can inspire you to DO. 

Mile-wide-inch-deep: Why HR Tech ends up as, “much ado about nothing”

Let me begin by saying that, HR is working hard.

Working hard to pivot. Working hard to become digital. Working hard to keep pace with the Millennials and Gen-Z. Yet, all that hard work, ends up as, “much ado about nothing”. Allow me to explain.

To be fair, in the last 10-15 years or so, HR in India has invested resources in technology. However, the approach HR and service providers have traditionally taken is:

  1. Do-a-bit-of-everything: Typical HR-Tech solutions try to address everything from recruitment, performance management, compensation to training with one “end-to-end solution”.
  1. One-size-fits-all-employees: The only way a solution can address such varied functions en-masse, is treating all employees just the same; i.e. assuming that all employees want the same things, work in the same way, are motivated similarly – and therefore must be managed the same way.

This has led to the generation of mile-wide-inch-deep HR-Tech solutions, offered by biggest players in the market. And for sure, these have made the task of “management” of employees convenient. However, the fact that we have forgotten the core purpose of HR-Tech (an “experience enabler”) and traded it for convenience – is the root of HR-Tech – with all the hype around it – becoming a case of much-ado-about-nothing.

In his white-paper (a highly recommended read), Josh Bersin, argues that while the use of technology systems by employees has increased in the US – the output has only marginally improved. And this is while employees are working longer hours, taking fewer vacations and being stressed – if the burgeoning corporate spent on well-being programs (USD 40 Billion per year) is anything to go by. The story back home is no different, given Indian employees switch more jobs than any other country, and nearly 50% of employees admit to experiencing stress at workplace.

I said it in my previous blog, and I will say it many times over. The idea of “managing employees” simply doesn’t work. Employees expect a certain experience from their workplace. And if they don’t get it, they have the choice to move. A choice, that they are increasingly exercising without any qualms. Gone are the days when employees aspired for a long-service award. We live in the age of portfolio careers.

If HR’s core objective is to enable employees’ experience, such that they work to their best potential; and if the core objective of HR-technology is to enable that goal – then clearly things have failed. Infact, I will go a step further to say that, even as HR has realized the need to change its approach, technology is coming in its way. Clearly, the investment, efforts and brouhaha around HR-Tech, in its current avataar, are simply much-ado-about-nothing.

“Okay we get it – but what is the solution?”  You might ask.

To start with, the solution is not, to shoot the messenger. Technology is only a tool. The success or failure of it, depends on how it is used. As I see it, we need to go back to the drawing board, and flip the two aspects of the approach, I mentioned in the beginning.

  1. One-size-fits-all ..to.. Each-employee-to-his-own

Improving technology, begins with changing the underlying assumptions. In our case, it is the underlying assumptions about what employees want.

Raghav may be willing to work for a lower pay, provided he can have flexi-time to take care of his kid. Harini might want a higher take-home component to be able to pay for her mortgage. Further, each of these employees may have different needs at different life stages. Further , Harini learns better by watching e-learning videos. Raghav learns better by talking to peers.

If we want HR-Tech that will enable Raghav, Harini and many others like them – we need to begin with acknowledging that they don’t want the same things.

  1. Do-a-bit-of-everything ..to.. Do-few-things-well

As a natural outcome of acknowledging that each employee wants a different experience, we will have to dig deeper into each HR process and deliver it to the employees individually, in a manner that suits them. This requires a shift from mile-wide-inch-deep solutions to feet-wide-mile-deep solutions, where specialists dig deep into each HR sub-function, brought together by platforms that enable interoperability.

I wish I could say that Dockabl is a pioneer in this kind of tech approach. But the truth is, this kind of approach has been staring right at our face every morning – in form of a Google screen. Google in itself does not solve any of our problems. But it brings together all the solutions out there. Or, take Facebook, which does not create any of the Farmville or Candy Crush Saga we love, but simply hosts them.

So, we are not pioneers. It’s just, that we are the first to recognize the potential of something that was out there for everyone to see (but got missed in plain sight) – and bring it to HR. But I am happy today, as an HR person more than anything else, that players such as Workday, SAP, Oracle are warming up to it – maybe slowly, sometime shyly, perhaps reluctantly – but surely; happy that they are moving to “open platforms” that will allow specialists like Dockabl to provide feet-wide-mile-deep solutions.

Finally, and at the cost of repeating myself, I will say something – that we keep reminding ourselves at Dockabl every day. A reminder, of the fundamental assumption which is at the heart of our product design. In the words of Shakespeare in his play called (well!)  “Much Ado About Nothing”..

A line we remember about every employee we design Dockabl for…

“Let me be that I am and seek not to alter me.”