Tracking Time

Below is a blog by Jody Thompson, one of the founders of ROWE and co-author of the bestselling book Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It.  I just happened to see this and thought it was very funny and very true.  The blog is about logging the hours you work and I can't tell you how many times I have heard these statements she mentions in her blog.  I have several friends that will quickly tell you how many hours they worked as if it is a badge of honor. My response to them is that they should be more efficient in their job.  Let me know what you think.
 

Here’s why tracking time = INSANITY 

  1. If you get your work done in less time (less time = less than 40 hours/week), you’ll get more work (which is no incentive for working efficiently).
  2. If you get your work done in less time, your job may be perceived as unnecessary.
  3. If you get your work done in less time, you’ll get paid less or put on part-time status.
  4. If you take longer than the amount of time you should take to get the work done (more time = more than 40 hours/week), you may be perceived as inefficient.
  5. If you take longer than the amount of time you should take to get the work done you may get a promotion, because you work so hard (which is why we all like to brag about the 50 – 60+ hours we put in each week!).
  6. If you take longer than the amount of time you should take to get the work done, you may be considered dedicated, hard-working and a valuable asset.
  7. If you take exactly the right amount of time to get the work done (40 hours/week), you may be perceived as only doing the bare minimum (Hey, everyone else is working 50-60 hours! Why aren’t you?).
  8. If you take exactly the right amount of time to get the work done, you may never get promoted (only the hard-working, dedicated people get promoted).

The problem with tracking time is that it takes the focus away from one thing: measuring results. When you take away time-tracking, everyone becomes as efficient as possible. Nobody talks about how many hours they work, because it’s irrelevant. And, time no longer has power as the currency that measures work.

For managers, the benefits of a results-only workplace where time is not a measure of work are many:

  1. Results become clear as employees seek clarity
  2. Work gets done faster
  3. Communication gets sharper
  4. Managing to results becomes easier than managing people’s time
  5. Productivity goes up
  6. Morale goes up
  7. Voluntary turnover goes down
  8. There is much less wasted time
  9. Teamwork happens without team-building exercises
  10. Creativity happens

The ‘Conroys’ of the world don’t stand a chance in workplace where time-tracking has relevance.



Comments for: Tracking Time

Name: Blindfolded Monkey
Time: Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I think the basic concept makes sense but that the authors overstate their point. Certain roles have always been judged only on results, such as commissioned salespeople. The reality though is that many jobs require face to face interaction and teamwork that requires people to keep some sort of schedule.
Name: Peter
Time: Sunday, June 3, 2012

@ Blindfolded Monkey: Good point about roles being measured on results and schedules being neccessary.
For me, the point here is to take the focus away from the legnth of time the face-to-face interaction takes. So a meeting of four hours length cannot be judged as being more productive than a meeting of one hour length, if the only criteria is length of time.

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