There once was a CEO that used to gaze out the window and count all the cars that had actually left the office before he did. He then used this as a measuring stick for the overall amount of work these individuals were producing and their level of dedication to the organization. I will also tell you that this CEO’s tenure wasn’t all that lengthy and the culture went into free-fall crashing and burning spectacularly.
Once upon a time longer office hours may have actually created more work output. The challenge with this mentality in today’s workplace is the total hours spent in the office does not always equal total levels of output and productivity. The reason? Technology, globalization, and a mobile workforce.
Think about it for a minute. Back in the day, workers weren’t connected 24/7 365 with mobile devices capable of sending instant communication to the far reaches of the planet. Video conferencing was relegated to the science fiction of Star Trek and the Jetsons. File sharing services like Dropbox or Google docs weren’t even imaginable in our parents or grandparents workplaces.
The fact is the modern worker with a few exceptions is capable of working anywhere, at anytime and most importantly on their own time. Think about how many times in the past year you have worked in your home late into the evening? Responded to request and work emails on your weekend or day off? Spent at least some portion of your holiday doing something related to your job?
The idea that to be productive requires a certain number of hours in an office is as dated as Pac-Man, or Ms Pac-Man if you prefer. When asked most will tell you the last place they can actually get something productive accomplished is the office, since the constant distractions and bombardment of pop-ins makes completing your own work simply impossible.
By the way our Millennial friends and those graduating from college have become accustomed to on-line courses and working toward deadlines on their own schedules. A recent college grad told me he once took a final exam lying in bed from his apartment. My belief is many of us have done some of our best work un-showered, clad in sweats and a tee shirt, in the comforts of our homes or a favorite coffee shop.
The modern worker is asked to do more work at a faster pace than past generations would have found intolerable. This worker also requires a level of freedom and flexibility that is required to solve the complex problems of today.
So the next time you find yourself wondering where one of your team members or colleagues is that day- ask yourself:
Am I counting cars and hours logged in the office, or am I looking at this persons total output and productivity.
If this person is consistently putting out quality work, meeting the deadlines, and doing his or her job without causing organizational havoc. Then ask yourself another question- Who is really the problem here?
Thoughts for the week:
The best way to predict the future is to create it.- Alan Kay
Productivity is never an accident. It is the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort. – Paul Meyer
If you don’t pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will probably take more of your attention than it deserves. – David Allen
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. – Ben Franklin
While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, the other is busy making mistakes becoming superior. -Henry C. Link
To think is easy. To act is difficult. To act as one thinks is most difficult. -Johann Wolfgang Von Goeth
Looking forward to our next conversation