Hackers Digest #61: Hire More Couples

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Welcome to this week’s edition of the Hackers Digest, a feature that explores some of the more interesting ideas about productivity that were published over the past several days. We explore every nook and cranny of the Internet to find the six best hacks and productivity stories of the week so you don’t have to.

Here’s what we found this week:

1. Eight questions to ask yourself in order to find your productivity weaknesses. 

If you want to take your productivity to the next level, you first need to figure out how you can become a more effective and efficient worker. To do that, you need to determine the areas of your professional life where you’re not as productive as you know you could be. Just because you’re spending a ton of hours in the office every week doesn’t mean you’re actually getting enough of the right things done. To become a more productive worker, you may want to start asking yourself some questions like “Do I do everything with a goal in mind?” and “Do I use goals to make my decisions automatic?” The answers to these questions may very well inspire you to reach your full potential. For more, head over to Inc.

2. Your productivity is affected by the person sitting next to you. 

Who do you sit next to at work? It turns out that person may play an enormous role in your on-the-job productivity. According to a new study, roughly 10% of any employee’s performance spills over to the people they’re sitting next to. If you go above and beyond every day, your efforts will be mimicked by your coworkers—at least to a certain extent. Conversely, if your neighbors are the wiz kids of your organization, you can expect to see an uptick in the quality and quantity of your own work. To increase productivity across your organization, look to pair people together who have opposite strengths. For example, pairing a faster worker with a slower work can boost the latter employee’s speed. While you’re reconfiguring your seating chart, don’t forget to separate all the toxic workers from one another, too. Read the study over on the Harvard Business Review.

3. The productivity problem is directly correlated with the lack of engaged workers. 

Anyone who’s ever worked a job knows that there is always at least one person who goes above and beyond in all that they do. They routinely over-deliver. They are constantly on the lookout for ways they can improve the organization. They always have a smile on their faces and are a pleasure to be around. These workers are called engaged employees. Then there are those on the other side of the spectrum who seem content to just show up to work every day, go through the motions and do as little as possible to ensure they can keep drawing a paycheck. These workers are called disengaged employees. According to Gallup, only about one-third of U.S. workers are engaged. How does your organization stack up? If you want to improve your team’s productivity, do what you can to increase engagement. Allow flexible schedules. Support professional development. Communicate thoroughly and be transparent. The Tampa Bay Times has the scoop.

4. Productivity tips from former U.S. presidents.

Last Monday was Presidents Day. In honor of that holiday, the folks over at Lifehacker put together a list of 10 productivity tips from former U.S. presidents. Thomas Jefferson, for example, made it a habit to take a deep breath before replying to anyone when he was angry. Woodrow Wilson was a master of delivering short speeches—packing a bigger punch into a smaller number of words. George Washington put together a book on etiquette that he abided by. To be more effective, Abraham Lincoln stacked his cabinet with a slew of rivals. Head over to Lifehacker for the story.

5. Write a relaxing mantra down on a piece of paper. 

It’s time for another list of productivity tips. For starters, never forget that clutter causes fatigue. You will be more productive when you work at an organized desk than when you work at once that’s covered with papers, garbage and the like. Another pro tip: Stop listening to music and instead listen to white noise. When all else fails, write down a calming mantra and put it on the wall of your workspace. When you get super stressed, ruminate on that mantra and do your best to relax. The HealthSite has more tips.

6. Have a few open positions? Hire more couples.

We all know we’re not supposed to dip our pen in the company ink, so to speak. Instead, we’re supposed to find romantic partners who don’t work for the same company as we do. But what if you’ve already met someone and you’re both on the job hunt at the same time? According to a recent report, companies may find out that hiring couples increases loyalty, happiness and job satisfaction. When couples get along with each other well, their positive relationship improves the morale of everyone around them. Of course, there are pitfalls that come along with hiring couples, too. Head over to the Society for Human Resource Management for more.

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