Work Smart Now: How to Jump Start Productivity, Empower Employees, and Achieve More

Work Smart Now: How to Jump Start Productivity, Empower Employees, and Achieve More

by Richard Polak


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From one of the top HR specialists in the world comes this much-needed guide to help people maximize productivity and increase revenue.

Whether it’s in corporate America or in our own living rooms, people are wasting time. From the minute we wake up and check our Facebook page or emails—before we even crawl out of bed—to late at night when we stay up longer than we should, watching our favorite show.

There’s a precise moment that falls between working enough hours to be productive and working too many hours, yielding a diminishing marginal return. The difference between the person able to master this and most Americans that fail miserably at it is quality of life! If one continues to work past this moment, a negative return will ensue, and that negative return produces guilt. It lowers the amount of time for recreational activities and spending time with family. We’ve siloed productivity to our work life, however; the impact on our personal life is often loss.

An alarming 39% of workers in high-tech companies believe they are depressed, as reported by PC Magazine in December 2018. 72% of people who have daily stress and anxiety say it interferes with their lives—anxiety and stress alone have reduced productivity by 56%. More than 80% of people have experienced some form of anxiety, stress, or depression in the workplace. People are spending more time at work than at home or with their loved ones; or, if they are at home, they are working. They are always “on.” As a result of this disparity, people are not fully living their lives. And the “work-life balance” marketed by some HR consulting firms and employers simply does not work. It’s all work and no life! Studies have also proven that when people are unhappy in their personal lives or careers, their productivity goes down and everything and everyone around them suffers. This causes a domino effect, which trickles into every area of their lives.

Previous generations used to say, “Work harder,” but we’ve now learned we must “work smarter.” Polak has practiced and tested his methods in hundreds of opportunities and has been paid millions by the largest corporations in the world to share these tools. He feels that every individual and business should have these tools, and will share them with us here.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781510759824
Publisher: Skyhorse
Publication date: 04/20/2021
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 609,853
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Richard Polak is a thirty-five year HR veteran, congressional advisor, and a world leader in creating compassionate strategies to increase employee productivity. Globally recognized in the HR space, he has helped clients in more than 90 countries create world-class HR and benefits programs. in 2012, he merged his company, IBIS Advisors, and his IBIS Academy conference—the world’s longest-running international HR conference—with Arthur J. Gallagher & Co (AJG), which saw him take over as executive vice president and area president of the Multinational Benefits & HR Consulting Department, a position he spearheaded for six years before deciding to reenter the entrepreneurial space. Today, Richard is a "serialpreneur" with several successful companies. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.

Read an Excerpt

Time is our second-greatest asset. We all run out of it eventually, so we need to use it wisely. Whether it’s in the office or in the living room, none of us is getting the most out of the time we’ve been given. From the moment we wake up and check our Facebook page or emails—before we even crawl out of bed—to late at night when we stay up longer than we should, watching TV or working. From the government worker in Cairo who averages 10 to 20 percent less productivity a day (according to many studies) to the sales guy in Cincinnati who takes an extended lunch, has trivial chitchat with his or her coworker, and checks his or her email too often (studies show that it is more productive to check your email only twice a day). Lack of productivity, which extends to lack of engagement, is a crisis in much of society. Workers are pushed beyond their limits. This is proven by studies that show increased dissatisfaction at work and higher rates of depression and suicide. It’s simply bad business to overwork people. People become less productive and companies lose money and risk losing employees. In America alone, the average business loses 10 to 25 percent in revenue due to this phenomenon. It’s only now that we are able to measure it, analyze it, and make changes.

For more than 40 years, I’ve been advising organizations around the world. For most of that time, I owned and operated one of the largest privately held global consultancies, advising companies such as Google, Sony Pictures, Hilton Hotels, and McDonalds on international expansion and productivity in more than 90 countries. I became the specialist, flying around the world, building bridges between employees and their employers through innovative human resources (HR) tools that brought the two groups together. I became an HR forensics investigator, hired by numerous companies to uncover rogue employees who were stealing money from the company and breaking numerous laws in the country. Some were just flat out mobsters. My goal, as directed by the CEOs, was to stop the corruption immediately and prevent the news from landing on the front page of the New York Times. I’m pleased to report that not one of my clients ever ended up in the news concerning these sensitive issues.

I have learned valuable tools that I utilize in my personal business as well as advise for the businesses of others. Here are my two definitions of productivity:

“Get More Done in Less Time—and Do It with Joy”
“Do Only the Things That Only You Can Do.”

Previous generations said, “Work Harder,” but now we’ve learned it really is “Work Smarter.” I have successfully tested my methods in hundreds of opportunities. Every individual and business should have these tools.

This is why I wrote Work Smart Now, to condense many decades of knowledge into an easy-to-read book that every top-performing individual, CEO, or high-level executive can refer to for guidance. I hope this book is helpful to you. It has certainly been a joy to write, and the lessons contained herein have been helpful to me in making my whole life more productive.

So, if time is our second-greatest asset, what is our first? It’s our integrity. You can have all the time in the world, but without integrity you have nothing.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Chapter 1 The Coffee Klatch and Research (There Is Science Involved) 1

The Financial Impact 5

What Is Compassionate Productivity? 7

Compassionate Productivity Versus Traditional Performance Incentives 8

How to Practice Compassion in the Workplace 11

The Business Case 13

Chapter 2 Introducing Productivity (Modern-Day Techniques for the Modern-Day Company) 15

Definition of Productivity 17

Fundamentals 17

What Defines a Great Workplace? 18

Culture in a Box 24

The Five Buckets of Productivity 28

About Remote Work 28

Do Not Fight Change 30

Working from Home Boosts Job Satisfaction and Employee Retention 31

Employee Engagement 32

Productivity Boost 33

Productivity and Engagement Tips 33

Chapter 3 Key Component #1-Absence Management and Presenteeism 35

Absenteeism 37

Measuring Absenteeism 39

Presenteeism 42

What Is Presenteeism? 42

What Causes Presenteeism? 43

Measuring Presenteeism 44

Addressing Presenteeism 48

Clear Communication About Leave Options 48

Reexamine Organizational Culture 48

Look at Employee Wellness Initiatives 49

Offer Health Benefits 49

Find the Right Balance 50

The Business Case 51

Cost of Absenteeism 51

Cost of Presenteeism 52

Chapter 4 Key Component #2-Well-Being (Well-Zilience) 55

Emotional and Physical Well-Being 57

Financial Well-Being 60

Fair Pay 61

Open Communication 62

Flexible Schedules 62

Good Benefits 62

Find the Right Financial Wellness Program 63

Occupational Well-Being 63

Social Well-Being 64

What Is Social Wellness? 65

How Can I Improve Social/Community Well-Being? 66

The Business Case 68

Chapter 5 Key Component #3-Engagement 71

Employee Engagement Versus Job Satisfaction 73

Why Is Employee Engagement Important? 75

The Proof 76

Employee Engagement and Presenteeism 77

Measuring Employee Engagement 78

Factors That Impact Engagement 79

A Note About Leadership 81

Engagement Tips 83

The Business Case 85

Chapter 6 Key Component #4-Technology 87

The Consequences of Poor Communication 90

Data Struggles and Lost Time 92

Access to Tools and Data Can Improve Productivity 94

Wearable Trackers 96

Games and Contests 97

Apps 97

The Business Case 98

Chapter 7 Key Component #5-Optimizing Your Workday (Getting 30 Hours Out of 24) 101

What Impacts Your Workday? 104

Walkersize 105

Focus, Don't Multitask 106

Schedule Priorities 107

Structure Your Day 108

The Business Case 110

Chapter 8 Adapting to Change 111

Implement a Voicemail Transcription Service 113

Dictate Your Emails 114

Use Keyboard Shortcuts 114

Optimize Your Task List 115

Using a Password Manager 116

Improving Your Typing Speed 116

Avoid Distractions and Focus 116

Manage Email 117

Avoid Multitasking 117

Get Enough Sleep 118

Nap for 10 Minutes a Day 118

Chapter 9 The Next 24 Hours 121

Collect Data and Make a Plan to Change 123

Understanding the Baseline 124

Measurement Methods 124

Can You Manage What You Can't Measure? 126

The Next 24 Hours 128

The Business Case (Sum Total) 129

Final Note to the Reader 131

Appendix: Further Reading 133

A Chapter Two 134

B Chapter Three 138

C Chapter Four 148

D Chapter Five 157

E Chapter Six 162

F Chapter Seven 169

G Chapter Eight 172

Index 175

Customer Reviews