Time plus results = productivity. But how much time?
Productivity in an office space is a relative term don't you think? Some individuals at work can spend much more time than others on a task that is essentially completed to the same or similar standards.
If individual A (let's call him Basil) finishes in half the time of individual B (Bert), then a cry of 'Bravo' should go up and Basil should be the standard bearer for dynamic working. However, this is not always, or even often, the case.
With many individuals who work at different paces and in different ways - it becomes visually obvious to all around them - and we all know how open plan offices are configured... those who work very quickly and efficiently over a shorter period can often need to 'mentally rest and recover' immediately after intense activity - this change in productivity is outwardly very noticeable and could consist of Basil appearing to not 'do much work at all'.
In fact, the appearance of working over the longer hours is usually considered to be a sign of greater dedication, a higher work ethic, and a more thorough approach. However, if the end result is the same, why is this the case? Possibly because our working practices and assumptions are still based on an old fashioned factory model where 'the same time worked' is a collective obligation. If you work hard (i.e. long hours and solid productivity), then you are a good corporate asset, but this would not be the case with those who finish work in half the time and then 'take it easy' for the remainder - and this is particularly so in some sectors.
This is not to say that increasing productivity for Basil 'over the longer term' would not be worthwhile (and Basil could be pretty happy with that), merely that it should be recognised that workers are individuals and that the unique ability of each is just that, unique. Results are the benchmark of productivity, not time, and not simply the appearance of hard work.
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Karen Hayns MSc - Future PerfectSeptember 11th, 2017