Activity does Not equal Progress


Activity does not equal progress | ArchiSnapper

Many business owners and managers set up tracking systems to ensure team members are actually productive during working hours, in order to try and prevent them from eating up working hours with personal business.

There are two 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 going above and beyond the requirements.

And if they don’t—monitoring them will not help, and you are better off ending the collaboration with them.

Secondly, and perhaps an even a bigger issue, is that people focus on the wrong things to check if team members are actually working.


via GIPHY

Sometimes unconsciously, they monitor things like:

  • Are team members online on Skype, Teams, or Slack? Is the bullet green? :)
  • Do they answer email rapidly?
  • Are they active on your 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, productive work done.

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

Often, collaboration tools like chat prevent people from going in the zone and getting work done. This can be true of open plan office with continuous disturbances aswell.

So, if a team member does not immediately respond to chat or email, it is possible he is not catching up on the latest season of True Detectives, but rather, is focused on doing meaningful work in a 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.

"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."

If you’re interested in this topic, I highly recommend the book “It doesn’t have to be crazy at work.” by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson.

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