Productivity Culture Has an Empathy Problem

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Productivity Culture Has an Empathy Problem
The ability to delegate work is a form of privilege.


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Smarter Faster Better

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The Culture Of Perfectionism

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Inclusive Productivity

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Our culture of work

Our culture claims that work is unavoidable and natural. The idea that the world can be freed from work, wholly or in part, has been suppressed for as long as capitalism has existed.

Exploring the abolition of work

  • In 1885, socialist William Morris proposed that in the factories of the future, employees should work only four hours a day.
  • In 1930, John Maynard Keynes predicted that advances in technology would lead to an age of leisure where people might work 15 hours a week.
  • Since the early 2010s, these ideas have been developed further, creating a growing critique of work as an ideology, and exploring alternatives to work.
  • Post-work offers enormous promises: In a life of much less work, life would be calmer, more equal, more communal, more pleasurable, more thoughtful, more politically engaged, more fulfilled.

Work ideology

The work ideology is not natural nor very old.

  • Before the modern era, all cultures thought of work as a means to an end, not an end in itself.
  • Once the modern work ethic was established, working patterns started to shift. Between 1800 and 1900, the average working week shrank from 80 hours to 60 hours, and in the 1970s to roughly 40 hours.
  • In 1979, Bernard Lefkowitz related in his book that people who had given up their jobs reported feelings of "wholeness." During the same period, because wages were high enough, it became possible for most people to work less.
  • During the 80s, work ideology was reimposed by aggressively pro-business governments who were motivated by a desire for social control.
  • By the early 21st century, the work culture seems inescapable.

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    Measuring Productivity: Input vs. Output

    Measuring Productivity:  Input vs. Output

    There are two extremes of evaluating productivity: Input vs. Output

    • Input: The salaryman works long hours and is mostly judged on input. The person is judged by his ...

    Only Judging Outputs

    Some consultants are paid when the company profits go up, but no money is owed when there is no profit.

    But, early management theorists noticed just having a consultant made people work harder. A consultant can make a fortune, even though the advice is worthless. The problem with the pay-for-results consultant is that the payment comes too soon. An extended period could give better insight.

    Big-Picture and Fine-Grained Detailed

    A dimension in measuring productivity is looking at the big picture or fine-grained details.

    • The big picture: Looking back over the years, how much difference did it make?
    • Fine-grained means adding up the hours worked, which gives an immediate measure of progress.

    But there is a trade-off. The big picture is slow to measure and may only be visible in the long run.

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    Remote Working

    It’s almost hard to imagine now that people would commute 2 hours each way, from home to office and back, hopping buses and trains. Remote working, as discovered by millions recently, has plenty of...

    Challenges In Remote Working

    Remote working is not without its challenges, with many feeling isolated and unmotivated, being left on their own.

    Communication is trickier with colleagues and bosses, and there is a general lack of transparency and chances of overworking.

    Tools Of A Good Remote Worker

    • Being Tech Savvy: A Good PC/Laptop, the latest tools and software for the job, and a reliable internet connection are a must for most remote working profiles.
    • Good Communication Skills: Most of the communication will be written, and one should be able to articulate complex concepts and subtleties while being concise. This link provides a handy guide.

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