When you work with unproductive coworkers, it’s hard to maintain your cool. Getty
Mavenlink, the leading provider of cloud-based software for the modern services organization, announced new results from its inaugural “Future of Work” survey about generational differences in the modern workplace. The online survey questioned 1,002 full time employees in a U.S. corporate environment during September 2019. The release examines how organizations can develop team-building opportunities, another of the top-three most important workplace elements. Given that the top pet peeves in the report include “lazy coworkers” and other annoyances related to interpersonal relationships, the investigators say it’s clear team building is crucial to building a strong workplace culture. But interpersonal pet peeves limit team building and productivity.
Pet Peeves That Limit Productivity
A total of 47% said “lazy coworkers” are the number one pet peeve, but 42% of respondents said bad attitudes, followed by “poor communication skills” (34%) were also noteworthy pet peeves. These choices were nearly universal across all generations, with one exception. The 18 to 24-year-old cohort listed bad attitudes as their biggest pet peeve, followed by lazy coworkers.
“Modern offices have different generations that must work together to achieve company goals,” said Ray Grainger, CEO and cofounder, Mavenlink. “This survey report shows that, while there are many perceived differences in how generations approach maintaining productivity, age groups may be much more alike than we think. One way leaders can help bring the workforce together is by understanding how various age groups approach work and the importance they place on team building. Doing so will maximize productivity, increase retention rates and drive business success.”
Other Productivity Killers
Beyond pet peeves, respondents also listed these top productivity killers:
- Forty-five percent of all respondents selected “poor management/leadership” as the top productivity killer. However, more respondents in the 18 to 24-year-old group (47%) selected “poor management” as the top productivity killer when compared to the 45 to 54-year-old-group (46%).
- “Chatty coworkers” (43% of all respondents) was the second-most selected productivity killer. This was a nearly universal response across all age groups, but mid-career people (aged 35-44) responded that chatty coworkers are their number-one productivity killer.
- Meetings are universally loathed, especially by older cohorts. “Too many/unnecessary meetings” (41% all) was the third-most selected productivity killer. The 45 to 54-year-old (46%) and 55 to 64-year-old (50%) age groups differ here. Both selected “too many/unnecessary meetings” as their first-choice productivity killer and at higher rates than the entire sample size.
How to Maximize productivity
The survey recommends that managers and executives listen to employees’ concerns and implement changes in these areas:
- People under the age of 44 are more likely than most other age groups to see “poor management/leadership” as a top productivity killer. Organizational leaders must evaluate how they interact with other employees if they wish to improve productivity and limit distractions.
- Older generations in particular appear frustrated by having too many meetings. Company leadership may want to explore ways they can ensure more efficient, targeted, or structured meetings, or just limit the amount of meetings their company schedules altogether.
- The parts of the job that respondents dislike the most are “office politics” (44%), poor “management/leadership” (26%), and “lack of transparency/hierarchy” (25%).
Employees face plenty of obstacles to productivity. Many of those obstacles seem to stem from challenges with interpersonal relationships. Whether employees feel frustrated by management or other team members, the survey concludes that organizational leadership might be able to improve productivity by focusing more on team-building exercises. By identifying how different generations approach productivity and working with other individuals, business leaders can better promote collaborative relationship-building and, in turn, productivity.