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They Work Long Hours, but What About Results?

Robert Pozen writes an interesting piece in the New York Times on what happens when you value busyness over achievement.

It’s 5 p.m. at the office. Working fast, you’ve finished your tasks for the day and want to go home. But none of your colleagues have left yet, so you stay another hour or two, surfing the Web and reading your e-mails again, so you don’t come off as a slacker.

We’ve all been there right? He continues:

a measurement system based on hours makes no sense for knowledge workers. Their contribution should be measured by the value they create through applying their ideas and skills.

By applying an industrial-age mind-set to 21st-century professionals, many organizations are undermining incentives for workers to be efficient. If employees need to stay late in order to curry favor with the boss, what motivation do they have to get work done during normal business hours? After all, they can put in the requisite “face time” whether they are surfing the Internet or analyzing customer data. It’s no surprise, then, that so many professionals find it easy to procrastinate and hard to stay on a task.

Busyness, however, is no substitute for achievement. When you work in an organization that values “busyness” things will only get busier. Before you know it you’re coming earlier and staying later but you’re not actually doing more work — you’re doing less.

Still curious? Check out Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours.