October 18, 2018

INSIGHTS 2018: Juliet Funt's productivity tools, and our XOXO award winners

On Thursday, Whitespace at Work CEO Juliet Funt shared tips and tools for a productive future of work in her hilarious and fast-paced keynote, and Ceridian announced its 2018 XOXO award winners. Read on for more.

Danielle Ng-See-Quan

Dani is the Managing Editor, Content Marketing at Ceridian.

Juliet Funt on the thieves of productivity

WhiteSpace at Work CEO Juliet Funt opened her keynote on Thursday morning with a humorous, fast-paced stream of consciousness speech rattling off all the things we do in a day, meant to illustrate the fact that working professionals tend to operate with 100% exertion and 0% thoughtfulness.

Her hilarious keynote offered up tips for addressing productivity killers both professionally and personally. Check out our pre-INSIGHTS Q&A with Juliet for more.

“When was the last time you caught someone thinking where you work?” she asked the audience. “What if you came around the corner and found someone just thinking. Would you call a paramedic? Would you take a picture because of the oddity of it?”

Thinking is what changes everything at work, she added, but we have no connection to it. Instead, we’re busying ourselves with busy-work, which really translates to waste. And it’s expensive. Consider these numbers she shared, which are findings from her work with large organizations:

  • $26,233: Waste per person, per year
  • $62,960,625: The amount of waste for a business of 2,400 people per year
  • 955,200 hours (or 420 FTEs): The waste in headcount for a business of 2,400 people per year

Funt says we need to trade the reactivity of busy-ness for white space – a strategic pause.

“Pause is a juicy source of professional power,” she said. “In the pause, you strategize, introspect, innovate. The pause is what’s missing.”

In terms of how we work, our current state isn’t sustainable. The future of work, she emphasized, is moving towards inclusion of white space.

The thieves

Her solution for professionals to bring white space to their organizations? "De-crapify" your workflow, with a two-step plan: Become conscious of the thieves of productivity, and then defeat them with key questions.

The thieves of productivity, Funt said, steal our time. We end up feeling like the busy-ness is our fault, and that if only we could find the right podcast or the right filing system, then we’ll be able to tame the avalanche. The thieves are deceptive, she added, because they both have a value, and a fault.

  • Drive: Drive is great, but can lead us into overdrive.
  • Excellence: The pursuit of excellence is also great, but we can drive ourselves crazy in that pursuit.
  • Information: Dashboards, pie charts, graphs, data analysis. We want all of the information (a noble desire), but we may end up drowning in it.
  • Activity: A to-do list is helpful, but are we doing things just for the sake of checking off boxes?

The questions

Funt shared four simplification questions to “disarm the thieves,” which map back to each thief, respectively.

  • Is there anything I can let go of?
  • Where is “good enough” good enough?
  • What do I truly need to know?
  • What deserves my attention?

She suggested asking and answering these questions the next time the “crawling, caffeinated, too-much-to-do feeling comes up.”

Elsewhere, Funt also suggested using response time codes for email to quell the hallucinated urgency we create for them. For example, NYRQ (need your response quick) communicates real urgency, versus NYR-NBC (need your response, next business day), which lets a person know they don’t have to drop everything on a Saturday to respond to your weekend email.

Funt closed with a call to action for leaders who want to be successful in the future of work. Be a neutral observer of your organization and figure out what needs to change before blindly jumping in and starting to change things. Then, make a “vulnerable admission” – something you do (overtexting?) that adds to your organization’s waste. Lastly, forget no-meeting Wednesdays or email etiquette handbooks – these isolated interventions will fail to make a lasting impact in your organization.

As for our home lives, Funt urged the audience to bring whitespace home as well. “Build in open, unscheduled time. We all work so hard, and a lot of accomplished people realize too late that they missed the ride of their lives. The tyranny of the urgent will never give up.”

And the XOXO award winners are…

Ceridian’s annual XOXO awards program recognizes organizations that have realized outstanding return on investment with Ceridian’s products and services.

Ceridian Chief Revenue Officer Ted Malley announced the winners during the Thursday morning general session:

Astounding Transformation: The Second City

This is awarded to an organization that best demonstrates one or more of Ceridian's core brand attributes, resulting in astounding transformative results, including improved productivity and efficiency.

Employee Empowerment and Engagement: ATI Physical Therapy

This award honors an organization that has made significant changes to HCM processes and leveraged Ceridian's solutions to improve the employee experience and overall employee wellness.

Global Transformation: Electro-Scientific Industries (ESI)

This award honors an organization that has significantly transformed HR processes on a global scale.

Peace of Mind Compliance: American Diabetes Association

This is awarded to an organization that best demonstrates how they have made changes to HCM processes and leveraged Ceridian's solutions to improve and manage compliance.

Buehler’s Fresh Foods, Longo’s, Club Fit, and Weiden + Kennedy received honourable mentions in the above categories, respectively.

Read about this year’s XOXO award winners and learn more about how they use Dayforce here.

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