Friday, January 17, 2014

The Sri Lankan work ethic – Needs a change if we are to fulfill our goals

We work in different environments and do different jobs. WE work for ourselves and often we work for others. We compare notes with peers to determine if we are better or worse off than them, and we want to drop to the lowest common denominator, namely that of a Govt. job where productivity is actually negative. That is if they got rid of the 25% who actually slow down the job of others, the Govt. department may actually double their current productivity.

I work in an office and manage it, and I try hard to improve the productivity of the staff, as I want it to run on the lines of private companies, so that people are accountable for their areas of responsibilities and should perform to their potential. Chatting in office and gossiping about politics and thirdly being online are the three killers to productivity in my place, and attempt as I do to change this, it is a really hard sell for those who don’t appreciate how much of their lives they waste, be it at home or at work.

In fact there are tasks that I do, and others I delegate. We recently have had one member short, so we have had to take up that responsibility too, but as the work we do varies on a day to day basis, it is difficult to evaluate. Then our productivity is also dependent on the productivity of others. We wanted a list of names and addresses of a certain category of person, and the list was not forthcoming so we were stuck in not being able to send some mail on time.

In fact I tend to achieve a lot before the office staff come in, often when I get in at 6 am I often have total peace and quiet where I achieve more than for the rest of the day. I used to go out for lunch in the past, but have stopped that, as the time spent on that is not worth the food I injest!! I am still short of time!!

So is that Murphy’s Law at work again?  I am surprised that there is a different work ethic when people go overseas for work, as to when they are at home. This maybe due to the higher salary they receive, or the foreigner they work for a colonial relic where foreigners can get more work out of our people than their own countrymen!! The Tea Estates are a case in point, where the tight discipline instilled by the Colonials has broken down.

I was told it is because we don’t pay our people enough. IS that a chicken and egg situation? Should we offer more for output, and then see if that is achieved. I know companies have begun, early completion bonuses which is a start.   

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