Why 'busywork' is Unproductive and Provides No Value in the Workplace | Fierce


Hello everyone. I just read a very disturbing article from the BBC titled The Managerial Obsession with Busy Work.” The underlying theme is really a two sided problem. On one side, you have managed who are compelled to keep employees busy and productive, even if it’s busy work that doesn’t add any value, such as assigning repetitive reviews or duplicative tasks. And on the other side, our workers who feel compelled to load themselves up with self assigned busy work to look more productive and engaged. 

According to the article, knowledge workers are reporting self assigned busy work of up to 41%. I mean this is absolutely incredible and shocking and this is work that’s not productive or adding any value in a remote environment. This is exasperated even more with employees feeling that they need to show their meetings booked on their calendars, they need to show green dots and Zoom environments, or worse, red dots that they’re in meetings all day working.

And then they also touched upon the feeling of needing to send out emails throughout the day showing that they’re working or timestamps in the morning or late in the evening to show their duration of working. All of this is leading to stress, feelings of being undervalued, insecurity, and ultimately burnout and turnover.

I’ve advocated and I’ve talked about creating cultures that focus on results and rewards for results versus butts in seats. And it really starts with providing leaders and even employees with the tools to have conversations that manage the results such as feedback and delegation and knowing how and when to come from quantifiably this works.

Our research has shown that when deployed, employees report 8% decrease in burnout, 14% decrease in anxiety, a 17% decrease in feelings of stress, and more importantly, 4% increase in cohesion and organizational commitment. I mean, this is absolutely compelling. Outside of these skills that we’ve trained for 20 years, I’d love you to read the Forbes article that provides tangible tips for leaders to focus on results versus face time.

Thank you. And remember, the conversation is the culture.



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