Around the world: Innovative approaches to productivity

August 2014 news reports interesting workplace initiatives aimed at improving performance around the world. These innovative approaches to productivity come from Germany, where employees are being allowed to delete all incoming mail whilst on holiday and from Japan, where employees are encouraged to nap at work.

Do you wish you could just switch off your email whilst on holiday?

Employees at Daimler now can. The car manufacturer allows employees to use a “Mail on Holiday” assistant, which sends an auto-responder to all emails notifying the sender that their message has been deleted with alternative contacts to approach instead. This way the employees can spend their time off without the nagging feeling that they should check their email and can return from holiday to an empty inbox. Employees can choose whether they want to use the new tool or not and Daimler promises it won’t track their choice.

The “Mail on Holiday” means that Daimler employees can avoid that first day back when best part of the day is spent trawling through and deleting emails. Many say that their first day after holiday is utterly unproductive just because of their email inbox. Majority of the messages we receive are some form of junk that can be deleted straight away. Often even the remaining emails end up being a waste of time because most senders have received your “out-of-office” and have resolved their query in your absence.

According to Daimler spokesman Oliver Wihofszki who spoke to BBC4 Today programme, “The response is basically 99% positive, because everybody says, ‘That’s a real nice thing, I would love to have that too’”.

Do you suffer from the post-lunch slump?

As reported by the Guardian, Japanese companies are encouraging their employees to power nap at work to improve productivity. The naps could be 20-30 minutes and taken either at your desk or in the break-out areas. It’s been a great hit and employees feel they are more productive after napping and less likely to make mistakes.

The US National Sleep Foundation conducted a poll of sleeping habits around the world and found that Japanese workers sleep, on average, just six hours 22 minutes on work nights. They ranked the “least well-rested”, however, British workers get only 27 minutes more, at six hours 49 minutes. According to the results Canadians, Mexicans and Germans all regularly achieve more than seven hours sleep.

How do you tackle productivity problems? Does your company use innovative approaches to productivity? Would you use the Daimler approach? Would you ever nap at your desk? Tweet us you thoughts orjoin the discussion on Linkedin.