People who work from home say they work, and many objective studies show that to be true. But many managers still worry that they are not.
in New study by Microsoft, nearly 90 percent of office workers report being productive at work, and objective measures—increased working hours, meetings conducted and the quantity and quality of work performed—prove their success. Meanwhile, 85 percent of bosses say hybrid work makes it hard to be confident that employees are producing.
This uncertainty, combined with a looming recession and many companies returning to more time in the office, is increasingly pushing workers to show They work – which is certainly not the same as the actual work. It’s even what some have called a “productivity theater.”
Productivity scene is when workers frequently update their status on Slack or switch the mouse to make sure the status light in Microsoft Teams is green. They say hi and goodbye, and move to different channels throughout the day to chat. They check in with the managers and tell anyone what they’re working on. They even join meetings they don’t need to attend (and there many meetings) and answering emails late at night.
These are in and of themselves a small expense of time, and some are useful. Collectively, it’s an amazing waste of time. In addition to their normal working hours, office workers said they spend an average of 67 extra minutes online per day (5.5 hours per week) simply to make sure they are visually working online, according to recent study Software companies Qatalog and GitLab. Workers everywhere are feeling overwhelmed by this behaviour. In other words, fears of lost productivity may lead to lost productivity.
Of course, this type of production theater is as old as the office.
In the office, people used to come early and stay late to signify good work ethic. Or colleagues would gather at the coffee station to recount how busy they were, no matter how much work they were already doing. George in Seinfeld He’ll just act annoyed To make his boss think he was busy with work when he was actually doing crossword puzzles.
But with telecommuting and now ghost bosses Take a remote workThe situation became more exaggerated. Add to that a belt-tightening company and headlines about quiet take-off — a bad-named term for when people reject overwork, but which managers interpret as too little work — and you have a lot of performance these days.
“Getting my work done is not a problem,” said a Minnesota-based writer, who asked not to be identified so as not to jeopardize his job. “I just want receipts that I’m not calm to quit.”
About a third of all workers said they feel more pressure now to be visible to leadership than they did a year ago, regardless of their work accomplishments, according to unpublished August data from the experience management company. Qualtrix.
Who is driving all this production theatre? Employees are employers, but mostly employers. Workers feel as though they are paying for the privilege of working from home and don’t want to be left out in an upcoming recession. Bosses point out that they prefer office work — it requires it, overlook some remote workers, overburden others — and they have a lot of strings attached.
“I’d say a good part of it is–and maybe this isn’t print-friendly, but–rolling the shit down hill,” Monica Parker, founder of human analytics company Hatch Analytics, said. “The reality is that senior employees in organizations are free to work the way they want to, and many of them are older and simply don’t feel comfortable with this new model, so there is downward pressure.”
A Qatalog and GitLab survey report found that C-suite executives were working to their own schedule while not providing the same freedom to entry-level employees, a behavior that suggests a disconnect between the employer and employees’ work and personal life.
“He gets to work in 15 minutes. I come from Jersey, and it takes an hour and a half on a good day,” said a mom who works as a vice president at a Manhattan-based media company, referring to her boss. She asked not to be identified so she wouldn’t lose her job. She said her company still expects the same amount of productivity that employees were able to achieve when they were confined at home earlier in the pandemic, but is now asking them to come in, too, two days a week. Starting next month, three o’clock.
She wants to continue working from home most of the time to be able to take care of her son, so she says she does the equivalent of two jobs for two. She also reports that it works by answering emails promptly, even late at night. “There are no more limits,” she said.
The stress is lower in companies where the majority or all of the employees work remotely, but there is still plenty of ongoing performance. Cassian Wren, a programmer at web frameworks company Gatsby, said things are a lot better in their current job because it’s so far away.
They said, “I always had to show up to prove that my illness and my disabilities didn’t take away from my work.” “It’s just more than that at a distance.”
In a previous job, Wren spent up to 30 percent of their work hours “performing” the work, while also getting their actual work done.
“I call it performative because it usually takes extra time away from the work I was actually doing to write all these reports to people about what I was doing,” Ren said.
It is widely understood that remote work no succulents productivity. What is most open to discussion is whether people are particularly helpful or creative from home – or whether they are do a lot of work to be either. Creating an environment where workers spend extra time to show they’re working doesn’t help anything.