Activity Does Not Equal Progress
As a business owner or manager, do you focus on progress? Or are you really just hung up on being active for the sake of being active? If you fall into the latter camp, you might have set up tracking systems to ensure that your team members are productive during business hours. Sound familiar?
If so, I don’t blame you. After all, it does make sense — obviously, your goal is to prevent workers from clocking work hours doing personal business!
But let’s step back for a moment, because there are actually two problems with this…
Madness: Focus on Activity and Constantly Monitor Workers
Why is it insane to be Big Brother at the workplace? First, because it’s a waste of energy. Don’t drive yourself crazy constantly checking whether people are online and working.
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 going above and beyond the requirements.
And if they don’t — monitoring them won’t help. In fact, you’re better off ending the collaboration ASAP.
Second, and perhaps a much bigger issue, is that you might be focusing on the wrong things when checking to see if team members are actually working.
Sometimes, unconsciously, you might mull over questions like:
- Are team members online on Skype, Teams, or Slack? Is there a green bullet next to their name? :)
- Do they answer emails rapidly?
- Are they active on your project management software?
And there are many other questions. Sure, all of them could tell you if someone was busy and active, but not necessarily if that person was getting actually meaningful, productive work done.
Genius: Focus on Progress and Trust Workers to Get in the Zone
To do meaningful work, we need uninterrupted focus time. That means no meetings, no chat, no phone, no email interruptions.
Often, collaboration tools like chat prevent people from finishing their work efficiently. They can’t “get in the zone” or “tap into flow.”
This can also be the case for open-plan offices, which bombard workers with frequent disturbances.
So, if a team member doesn’t immediately respond to chat or email, they may not necessarily be catching up on the latest season of True Detectives. Instead, they may be focused on doing meaningful work in a concentrated manner.
You can’t expect people to be available and online all the time while getting a decent amount of work done.
Does this topic interest you? If so, grab a copy of It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. You’ll definitely learn to focus on progress.
So, what are the main takeaway goals here?
- Less monitoring, fewer distractions
- More quiet, greater focus
- Less frivolous activity, more meaningful progress
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