Corporate ethics

Working Hard or Hardly Working?

Hard work is valued in many cultures, and it often takes hard work and thoughtfulness to make sure you are productive in the various roles you serve. In the workplace, productivity is required for those that desire to keep their jobs.  For those of you that might be struggling with productivity at work (or home), here are four questions to ask yourself:

1. How’s your physical and emotional health? Healthy people are more likely to enjoy their work and be more productive in their workplace. Adequate sleep, regular exercise, healthy diet, and positive emotions have all been linked to workplace productivity.


2. What’s your physical work environment like? Air quality of your office, enough lighting, comfortable temperature, access to outside views and external space, and quiet working conditions are all factors of the physical work environment that have been found to improve workplace productivity (Quintal & Linn, 2012).

workplace productivity 2



3. What motivates you? Your motivation can impact your engagement with work-related activities. Motivation can be extrinsic or intrinsic. Extrinsic motivation may involve rewording yourself after finishing some work. Intrinsic motivation may include goal-setting, finding pleasure in work, and challenging yourself at work. So, do you want to… move to the top of the ladder? Make more money than your friends? Change the world? Think critically about what motivates you, and remember this when you find yourself wasting time.


4. Do you use technology wisely? New technologies help you to save time and can improve your workplace productivity. At the same time, research has shown that many people have been distracted by texting/cell phone use (50%), social meda (38%), and personal emails (23%) at work (Fludd, 2014). It’s important to maximize advantages and minimizing disadvantages brought by new technologies.




Your own productivity can improve your overall quality of life…by being more productive at work, you may achieve life balance and subsequently, be less stressed and enjoy work…and life a little more.



Bloxham, S., & Evans, C. (2013). Increasing productivity by improving staff health and wellbeing. Management Services, 57, 12-16.

Fludd, V. (2014). Workplace productivity drains. T+D, 68, 20.

Hawkes, A. (2013). 8 ways to… be digitally efficient. Financial Management, 42, 42-43.

Quintal, J., & Linn, B. (2012). Green buildings drive employee productivity. Keeping Good Companies, 64, 52-54.

Valencia, C. (2005) Motivation and productivity in the workplace. Myriad. Retrieved from


About Jinwen Ye

My name is Jinwen Ye. I am a junior at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). My major is Human Development and Family Studies with focus on Child and Adolescent Development. I have had a variety of experiences and mentors that led to my interest in providing professional development strategies to other students. I have worked as a research assistant, conducting site observations, analyzing data, and transcribing interviews for UIUC faculty whom aim to identify factors linked to effective practices in positive youth development programs. Additionally, I have been involved in The Illini Mentor Program as a programming committee member and have served as a volunteer in the International Student Career Certificate (ICC) Program. I hope to learn more about professional development through my work with Career Skillet, and I want to inspire other students, particularly other international students who struggle in unique ways. I have had some fabulous mentors along the way, and I hope to “Pay It Forward” through my work with this project.

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