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If You're Always Working, You're Never Working Well 135

Posted by Soulskill
from the brain-gets-mushy dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Hard work is almost an axiom in the U.S. — office culture continually rewards people who are at their desks early and stay late, regardless of actual performance. Over the past decade, it's encroached even further into workers' private lives with the advent of smartphones. An article at the Harvard Business Review takes issue with the idea that more work is always better: "When we accept this new and permanent ambient workload — checking business news in bed or responding to coworkers' emails during breakfast — we may believe that we are dedicated, tireless workers. But, actually, we're mostly just getting the small, easy things done. Being busy does not equate to being effective. ... And let's not forget about ambient play, which often distracts us from accomplishing our most important tasks. Facebook and Twitter report that their sites are most active during office hours. After all, the employee who's required to respond to her boss on Sunday morning will think nothing of responding to friends on Wednesday afternoon. And research shows (PDF) that these digital derailments are costly: it's not only the minutes lost responding to a tweet but also the time and energy required to 'reenter' the original task." How do we shift business culture to reward effective work more than the appearance of work?
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If You're Always Working, You're Never Working Well

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  • One of the bigger cultural differences I've found working in both the U.S. and Scandinavia is that American meetings are long, unpredictably scheduled, and really disorganized. A 10am meeting might really get down to business by 10:15 if you're lucky, maybe 10:30, and probably won't end on time at 11:00am. Nobody will have distributed any material to consult ahead of time, or even a proper meeting agenda for that matter, and as a result people don't come particularly prepared, and a ton of time is wasted. Since there is no real agenda, who needs to be at the meeting also hasn't been very carefully decided, so a bunch of people are just in case, and they spend half the time on Facebook or email while irrelevant parts of the meeting happen. The assumption seems to just be that just half-assing the whole thing is the best way to go...

To err is human -- to blame it on a computer is even more so.

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