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Is Productivity Paranoia Hurting Hybrid Workplaces?

Feeling like your boss is constantly looming over your shoulder is never a good feeling. But it’s a problem that you’d think working remotely would solve. However, that isn’t necessarily true. In fact, many employees find themselves overcompensating in order to ‘prove’ something to their superiors. Yet bosses are as sceptical as ever. As many as 85% of leaders have highlighted a fall in the confidence they have in the productivity of their workforce, despite there being no evidence that employees are slacking from the comfort of their PJs. So why the distrust? Is productivity paranoia hurting the hybrid workplace? Let’s find out. 

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Some Thing’s Not Adding Up 

The phrase Productivity Paranoia, coined by Microsoft refers to the stress some leaders feel when they can’t physically see or monitor their employees. Some might argue that they’re passionate about seeing results, others might argue it is a control issue. 

The real answer? Well, it’s impossible to say. 

But something just isn’t adding up, especially when hours worked, the number of meetings and metrics showing actual activity has increased. 

And leaders are still fearing productivity is being lost?  

As the kids say nowadays – ‘The math ain’t mathing.’

Put simply: 

Employees think they’re being as productive as ever. Bosses aren’t buying it

The Worst Part is…

The thing is, as leaders lose trust in their employees’ productivity, they tend to push them further and further, hoping to keep the pressure on staff to perform, sometimes outside of their contracted working hours. But something’s got to give, and unfortunately in these circumstances, it is usually employees who end up worse off. 

They are pushed to their limit due to the productivity paranoia of their superiors and in turn, they become burnt-out, tired and sometimes even ill. 

That’s the exact opposite of what leaders are looking for. They witness productivity actually going down due to burnout and then believe this reaffirms their initial suspicions that productivity has fallen. When, statistically, that just isn’t the case. 

It’s the worst kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. 

The Real Culprit

Many have argued that productivity declines are not a sign of lazy, young workers “quiet quitting” or hybrid workers folding their laundry at home instead of answering emails. Rather as a result of inexperienced workers taking on new jobs following the Great Resignation, seasoned workers having to train so many new hires and the burnout of those who have been pushed to their limits to appease productivity paranoia.

The statistics tell us that these are some of the biggest reasons for alleged productivity declines. 

But I still want to know what you think. 

Is Productivity Paranoia Hurting Hybrid Workplaces?           

What’s the solution? 

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Disclaimer: This article was not written from the comfort of my Pyjamas, but it might have been completed even faster if I was. Why? Because an employee working remotely doesn’t mean an employee is skiving off.  


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