29 Aug Resilience Toolkit: How to Be More Productive at Work
With declining productivity at record lows not seen since 1983 many leaders have come called for workers to be more productive and taken action to increase productivity. While it is true that productivity has declined since its peak in 2021, productivity is still significantly higher than it was pre-pandemic. With productivity declining and leaders seeking solutions to drive productivity, what can be done?
In the quest for peak performance, the worlds of exercise and professional endeavors share a vital lesson: the significance of structured training. As fitness enthusiasts have long understood, systematic training systems and well-built structures are the pillars of sustainable progress. While often overlooked, the analogies between exercise and professional growth are remarkably similar, emphasizing the importance of nurturing capacity and fortifying structures to avert injuries, preserve productivity gains, and achieve long-term success.
The Power of Training Systems
In the realm of exercise, a robust training system serves as the bedrock of any successful fitness journey. Painstakingly designed with specific goals and progressions in mind, it presents a comprehensive blueprint for achieving success. However, the crux of successful training plans lies in their emphasis on consistency, day in and day out. The careful balance between exertion and recovery, along with gradual progression tailored to an individual’s current ability, constitutes the key to sustainable improvement.
Achieving personal bests or keeping pace with others can be tempting, but the path to true fitness excellence lies in adhering to a structured training system. Pushing one’s limits too often can lead to frequent injuries, compromising the very essence of consistency that is essential for continuous progress. Opting for a measured and progressive approach ensures that the body adapts, reducing the risk of injury and allowing steady and sustainable improvement over time.
Similarly, in today’s professional landscape, the call for structured training systems has never been more pressing. With current productivity levels for workers experiencing a decline, managers may be tempted to push employees to raise productivity levels rapidly. However, this rush for immediate gains can have detrimental consequences in the long run. Just as an exercise regimen requires a systematic approach, structured professional growth ensures that employees undergo a purposeful and gradual evolution of skills and expertise. Setting attainable milestones, providing opportunities for skill development, and balancing effort with adequate recovery are essential to safeguarding productivity gains.
The Hidden Peril of Ignoring Structure Training
Exercise reveals another valuable lesson – the importance of structure training. While muscles and cardiovascular systems adapt relatively quickly to increased demands, the skeletal system requires more time to fortify itself. Neglecting this aspect of training can have severe consequences. Runners, for example, may be able to maintain a pace that their systems can temporarily support, but without adequate structure training, they risk injuries that can ultimately undermine their progress.
In the professional sphere, this neglect of “professional structures” manifests as burnout. As unprecedented productivity gains realized during the pandemic begin to come down to earth, many organizations are grappling with the fallout of worker burnout. This phenomenon is, in part, due to the lack of a strong foundation in place to sustain those short-term productivity gains. Neglecting the fortification of the professional foundation, which includes a robust work ethic, effective time management, and attention to employee well-being, can lead to diminishing productivity, a decline in employee morale, and ultimately hamper an organization’s long-term success. In fact, productivity data supports this evidence as the productivity gains during the pandemic between Q1 and Q3 of 2020 were roughly equivalent to the productivity gains between Q1 2015 and Q1 2020. As such the recent decline in productivity that has put us back on our historical trend line for productivity growth is unsurprising.
Embracing Sustainable Progression
To attain enduring success in both fitness and the professional domain, embracing sustainable progression is paramount. In exercise, gradual incrementation of weights, repetitions, and intensity allows the body to adapt, ensuring that growth is steady and injury-free.
Likewise, in the professional sphere, gradual progression allows for the absorption of knowledge and the refinement of skills. Encouraging sustainable growth through structured training and ongoing skill development is vital to building a resilient and high-performing workforce. Organizations that prioritize the long-term well-being of their employees are more likely to see sustainable productivity gains and foster a culture of continuous improvement.
The invaluable parallels between exercise training and professional fitness underscore the shared significance of structured progression and fortifying foundational structures. Just as muscles need time to adapt, so do professionals require a gradual approach to growth. By focusing on well-structured training systems and dedicating attention to fortifying professional structures, individuals and organizations can protect against injuries, sustain productivity gains, and thrive in their chosen endeavors.
In fact, productivity levels have risen between 2023 and 2020 roughly the same as they did between 2017 and 2020. The graph here shows the linear trend line of productivity growth to illustrate this point.
As we navigate the dynamic world of work, let us learn from the wisdom of exercise and incorporate its principles into our professional lives. Prioritizing structured progress over short-term gains will be the defining factor that sets apart organizations and individuals who flourish from those who falter. By embracing sustainable growth and nurturing a strong foundation, we can build a more resilient and successful future for all.