Knowing if you’ve spent 8 hours at work is meaningless unless you’ve spent the time doing something productive and impactful.
A lot of teams work as per company schedules but very few measure the impact of their work on a daily or weekly basis. This “habit” of working for time is one of the root causes of disengagement. Punching in our time is something that creeped in from the Industrial Age. But we forget that the time spent in that era (and continue to do so, in some businesses) was directly proportional to what got done. You had to weld 10 joints in an hour and therefore 8 hours spent was measured by the number of joints welded. Doesn’t work in knowledge businesses, does it? Unfortunately, this false sense of measuring productivity has been further compounded by the hourly rate of consulting services. Almost suggesting that the ones you hire are always at their most productive and you only need to block their time to get your work done.
What’s grossly wrong here is that we expect teams to deliver results based on time spent on the job. In most modern businesses this is counter productive. Let the team work for just an hour a day, if that’s the only way they’ll bring out the best. Or let them choose. But caging them for a specific number of hours each day leads to a bunch of other unproductive habits – scheduling long meetings, time wasted on social platforms, longer lunchtimes, extended and frequent coffee breaks – well, you get the drift.
What’s grossly wrong here is that we expect teams to deliver results based on time spent on the job
Whether you’re an individual or a team, you need to consider what you do in a day, the impact it has, the satisfaction you’ve derived from it and whether what you’ve done really matters. Irrespective of how small the impact. For if we continue to work by measuring how much time we spend in the office, we’re unlikely to make a dent or a difference.