Then we just play productivity theater

The view of remote work productivity is illustrious. Study after study has shown that office workers are very productive when they are free to choose where they work. Meanwhile, 85 percent of employers continue to emphasize that hybrid work arrangements make it difficult to rely on employees actually being productive. (Aka being maximally well exploited on the part of the company, if you want to look at it that way).

As a consequence, many remote workers engage in unproductive productivity theater – as reported in the article linked here.

Productivity theater is when employees* frequently update their status on Slack or toggle their mouse to make sure the status indicator in Microsoft Teams is green. They say hello and goodbye and switch to different channels to chat throughout the day. They check in with managers and just tell everyone what they are working on. They even attend meetings they don’t have to attend (and there are many more meetings) and answer emails late into the night.

In addition to their actual working hours, office workers thus spend an average of 67 additional minutes per day (5.5 hours per week) online just to make sure they are visibly working online.

Good, this theater is comparably also known from the former office everyday life. But in the wake of the pressure that is currently being put on remote employees everywhere to (obligingly!) show up on site again to keep the company running, the pressure and burnout rate is growing immensely. There is a climate of mistrust, which certainly does not contribute to holistic productivity.


Article on September 29, 2022 appeared on piqd as a reference to the Vox articles Remote workers are wasting their time proving they’re actually working

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