Employees in 2024 are advocating for a shift in the workplace dynamic, prioritising clarity over the traditional model of frequent check-ins. According to the latest insights from Slingshot's 2023 Digital Work Trends Report, the workforce emphasises the need for clear priorities (42%) and established deadlines (30%) to enhance productivity effectively.
The report highlights a significant disparity between the anticipated standards of work performance from leaders and the fundamental requirements employees seek for optimal productivity.
Employees express the necessity for well-defined priorities, deadlines, and a manageable workload to streamline their productivity and performance. Furthermore, the findings reveal a generational discrepancy in work approaches and leadership styles.
Dean Guida, Founder of Slingshot, emphasised the challenges faced by employees due to overloaded schedules, vague priorities, and undefined deadlines. The lack of visibility and alignment across teams contributes to productivity loss and missed deadlines.
“Employees often feel overloaded, unsure of priorities and deadlines, and afraid to say no to additional work–even when they have too much on their plates already. And leaders are left scrambling when employees haven’t been focusing on the highest-value task or miss deadlines after taking on too much. This is all caused by a lack of visibility and alignment across teams,” said Dean Guida, Founder, Slingshot.
The inaugural report, based on research conducted by Dynata, delves deeper into these findings and unveils critical insights:
One key observation points out that when employees handle too many projects simultaneously (37%), lack clarity on priorities (25%), or operate without set deadlines (17%), their productivity is significantly impacted. Notably, 64% of employees report losing at least 1-2 productive hours daily due to the absence of deadlines, with 22% losing 3-4 hours daily.
Contrary to popular belief, increasing the frequency of meetings does not necessarily translate to heightened productivity. While leaders often feel the need for close supervision when work quality suffers or deadlines are missed, employees feel micromanaged when subjected to excessive check-ins (45%) or redundant status meetings (43%). In fact, 25% of employees consider work meetings to be the most disruptive part of their day.
Additionally, the report highlights differences in work approaches among different generations and genders in determining workplace priorities. Millennials tend to guess priorities (49%) in the absence of clear guidance, whereas Gen Z employees prefer to communicate with colleagues (55%) to ascertain priorities. Moreover, varying proportions of males (45%) and females (43%) either communicate with colleagues or independently choose tasks based on priorities.
Guida stresses the importance of aligning team objectives with broader organisational goals. Once employees are clear on their priorities and expected outcomes, leaders can ensure that the right tasks are completed promptly, ultimately driving business success.
“Where employees spend their time is where their priorities lie–but this often doesn’t line up with their leaders and the larger goals of the company. Once teams are aligned on goals and objectives, employees are clear on their priorities and expected outcomes and leaders can have peace of mind that the right things are getting done in a timely manner. This is what will drive business results,” added Guida.