A section of the audience for the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) Labour and Productivity symposium.
Cell phones can negatively affect workplace productivity
Fri, 07/22/2016 - 12:00am
While technology may boost a company’s productivity in some ways, it is hurting it in others.
Cell phones, according to Gillian Alleyne, Senior Assistant General Secretary and Human Resource Manager at the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU), are the biggest time wasters in the workplace.
“I believe the worst thing ever invented was a data plan,” said an outspoken Alleyne while making her contribution to the BWU’s Labour and Productivity symposium “Issues, Challenges, Solutions” held in association with the Productivity Council, at Solidarity House yesterday.
“When the cell makes a sound we are instantly looking for it. A lot of time is wasted when we should be doing our work. We have made ourselves slaves to these phones… We have to get our faces up out of the devices.”
Labour Management Advisor at Barbados Employers’ Confederation (BEC), Brittany Brathwaite, said that to increase productivity, there is a need to take a good look at flexitime.
“I know most employers think they have to see a person to ensure that they are working. That is not necessarily true, and of course this cannot be attributed across the organisation because there are different categories of workers. But, how can you introduce flexi hours to your business needs? Do your operational efficiencies depend on persons physically being there? Is there the possibility for HR Manager to look at the way they are recruiting persons, so as to build trust… Are you recruiting the persons that you can build a trustworthy relationship with – that if they don’t go into the office you can trust that they are delivering.”
She shared that BEC, for example, is currently considering a four-day work week, as opposed to five days.
“What this will do is to ensure that we have coverage six days of the week. Everybody will work ten hours in a day and we have an extra day opened on Saturdays… We are smaller, but this can work; productivity can happen. There are persons within our working environment, such as the Accountant, who need not be there from Monday to Friday, therefore coming in on a Saturday might be ideal time for her – no distractions,” she explained.
Chief Labour Officer, Vincent Burnett, is encouraging a partnership between the employer and employee. According to him, this is the only way productivity could be successful. “It is all of our business, each one of us, to try to see that we do our part to make the business profitable. If the business is not profitable, we have no jobs. Therefore, it is a togetherness that we are looking at.”
Burnett also pointed out that more education and awareness is needed in trying to deal with the question of productivity.
“A lot of people may not necessarily trust the outcomes of whatever productivity measures are put in place – maybe because of a lack of understanding, or because they are not made aware of why these things are supposed to happen. And if there is that understanding, we are on the road to ensuring that we are able to have sustained development,” he said. (TL)