Time Spent vs Work Done

We’ve all thought it, “I could do this from home, why do I need to be here…wearing pants?” And then killed time on Candy Crush for the last couple hours of the workday. When the recession hit, a lot of businesses said, “Yeah, why do you need to be here?” Telecommuting became an incredibly popular way to work. Telecommuting turned out to save companies a ton of money, decrease the commuter carbon footprint and actually produce higher productivity. Instead of going to the office, punching the clock and wearing pants, employees were allowed to work from wherever they like. The telecommuting trend led to the methodology that time spent in the office, doesn’t necessarily translate to work done.

Time Spent vs Work Done

Imagine a world where workers are paid based on the work they produced, rather than the time they dedicated to the company. Well, we’re getting closer. A lot of companies like Netflix have recently opened their corporate hearts to the idea that productivity rules and work is what you do, not a place you go. Netflix’s co-founder, Reed Hastings believes in a “freedom and responsibility culture”. This culture is best displayed through their unlimited vacation policy. That’s right, the sky is the limit with how much time their employees take off. Instead of ruling time off with an iron fist, Netflix has decided to leave their responsible and hard working employees to managing their workload and stay on task regardless of time spent in the office.

Companies like BlueWolf and IBM are also embracing the employee responsibility movement. A reduced pressure on days and hours spent in the office does actually translate to a happier, productive workforce. These companies realize that as long as the work gets done, goals are met and the organization is moving in the right direction, it doesn’t matter when or where the work gets done.

These companies didn’t just up and decide to leave it up to the employees though. Clearly defined goals and expectations are needed to successfully implement this type of work model. In addition, these companies put an emphasis on hiring certain people who would thrive in this environment.

Many folks talking about this topic take the stance that we have a burnout work culture, employees will work themselves to the bone if you let them. Well, sad to say, in my professional experiences, I have not found that to be the case. Employees don’t tend to wring out every drop of time they can get while in the office; they waste it!

It’s pretty common sense, if an employee knows that they have until the end of the day to finish a task, yet they have to stay in the office whether or not that task gets finished, where is the motivation to get that task done quickly? There isn’t any. If that same employee knows that when this task is done, their personal time starts, they are far more motivated to get it done. This means that not only does the task get done without Farmville and water cooler breaks, but the employee has more flexibility, less stress and more free time.

The outdated notion that time spent and work done go hand-in-hand is quickly being called into question. 40 hours of time at work very rarely translates to 40 hours of work.

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