Creative LeadershipStrategy & Marketing

What “The Productivity Bump” Could Mean For Your Church, Ministry, or Nonprofit

The unexpected upside to the COVID-19 shutdown...

When the pandemic went into full swing and the lockdowns began, I was working with a ministry client who also owned a successful business. He led hundreds of employees, and they had never even considered the idea of anyone working from home. Panic struck. They started scrambling, and it took a few weeks before they finally hit their stride.

But once they did, something unexpected happened. They had what analysts are calling a “productivity bump.”

In the beginning of the lockdown most leaders assumed their teams would spend their time at home binging on Netflix or baking cookies, and the most suspicious starting buying employee-monitoring apps to track how much their employees actually worked.

But what few expected is that people aren’t just working from home, many are out-performing their productivity from the old days at the office. As a result, even large companies are re-thinking their remote working policies.

According to the business email “The Hustle,” Twitter and Facebook are changing their remote work policies permanently, and The New York Times says CEOs of companies including Chegg, Cisco, and Microsoft have all observed the productivity bump. The Hustle attributes much of it to eliminating commutes, fewer lengthy meetings, and getting rid of small talk – which frees up enormous time for actual work.

And when it comes to churches, ministries, and nonprofit organizations, I’m hearing from pastors and leaders across the country who plan to keep a significant part of their workforce at home even after the pandemic is over. In case after case, people working from home are actually increasing their productivity levels. At the same time, leaders are making the decision to adjust their staff as they realize they don’t need that many team members onsite. Some have been able to eliminate a percentage of their office space, or adapt it into something more productive.

This isn’t new to me, since our team at Cooke Media Group is scattered across the country, and we’ve always focused on doing the work instead of just showing up in an office.

How about you? Has your team’s productivity changed during the crisis? Are you re-thinking your office policies for the future? I’d love to hear if the “productivity bump” is happening with your team, and if it’s changing the way you think about work?

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  1. I’ve led our team who all work from home for more than 20 years. I agree that fewer meetings and less water cooler talk could lead to more productivity. However, meetings and water cooler talk do have the benefits of helping team members build stronger relationships, and they provide opportunities for the team leader to check in with people to see how they’re really doing with their work and personally. When you run a remote team you have to be real intentional about building relationships and checking in on people’s well-being.

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