Could post-it notes improve productivity?

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Could post-it notes improve productivity? Anyone who started their professional career in the 90s will recall the stigma of the post-it-note. They were blamed for many an instance of poor management communication and proponents of the post-it were considered sloppy, disorganised or even down-right lazy. Instead managers were told to embrace electronic systems to streamline professional communications. Two decades of email bombardment later new research shows personalised 'post-it notes’ are highly effective at influencing your colleagues to get things done.

Experiments conducted at Sam Houston University in the United States found that attaching a post-it note to a paper asking workers to complete a tedious survey improved the response rate. The first group of employees all received the same message on a post-it note asking them to complete the survey. Of this group, 76% completed the survey – 20% more than those who did not receive a post-it note. Interestingly, almost 70% of workers who received a post-it note with a personalised message completed the survey – 35% more than those who didn’t receive a post-it note.  

While the post-it note may just be a piece of paper, researchers believe the high response rate of workers who received a post-it note was due to a ‘sense of connection, meaning, and identity that the sticky-note represents.’ And there’s no surprise why. In an era where emails and text messages have taken over the way we communicate, receiving a hand-written note can play a major role in motivating people to take action.

So next time you want to encourage your boss, staff or colleagues to complete a tedious or time consuming task, or get on board with your latest project, why not try leaving a personal note on their desk. So much for the paperless office! 

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