Activity does not equal progress

archisnapper blog

Many business owners and managers have a tendency to check if team members are actually available and productive during working hours, and if they’re not doing something else – something for their own instead of for the business.

There are 2 problems with this.

First, monitoring if people are online and working is a waste of energy. When you treat people like adults and give them the freedom to organize their work as it fits them best, they almost always do their job in a responsible manner – often working more than required. And if they don’t, monitoring them will not help and you better stop the collaboration immediately.

Second, even a bigger problem is that people focus on the wrong things to check if team members are actually working. They – sometimes unconsciously – monitor things like:

  • Are team members online on Skype, Teams, or Slack? Is the bullet green? :)
  • Are they answering fast on emails?
  • Are they active in our project management software?

All these things will tell you if a person is busy and active, but not if that person is actually getting meaningful work done and making progress.

To do doing meaningful work we need the exact opposite: undisturbed focus time without meetings, chat, phone or email interruptions.

Very often collaboration tools like chat (but also open offices with continuous disturbances) prevent people from going in the zone and getting work done.

So if a colleague is not immediately responding to chat or email maybe he is not watching television but actually doing meaningful work and getting things done in a focused and concentrated manner.

You can’t expect people to be available and online all the time, and at the same time get a decent amount of work done.

If you’re interested in this topic, I highly recommend the book “It doesn’t have to be crazy at work.

“Out of the 60, 70, 80 hours a week many are expected to pour into work, how many of those hours are really spent on the work itself? And how many are tossed away in meetings, lost to distraction, and withered away by inefficient business practices? The bulk.”

Let’s go for less monitoring and distractions.

Let’s go for more focused and quiet working hours.

Let’s go for progress instead of activity.

Take care, Jerry