Productivity Thoughts · 28 Oct 21

It's About Goals, Not Office Hours

When was the last time you were productive for 8 hours a day sitting in front of your computer?

When was the last time you were productive for 8 hours a day sitting in front of your computer?

Think about it. You can’t remember. I can’t either.

It just doesn’t happen, that’s now how our brains work.

Recently (and to my shock) I found a thread on Reddit about how some IT/Software related companies, are requiring remote work employees to be always-on (some even have to have their webcams on at all times), reporting in 8 hours of full-time work, and some even required to work additional hours because of the WFH flexibility.

Thankfully, this does not describe the majority of the industry. A company could quickly lose all of their team members and find it hard to hire if they have policies like these.

8 hour “clock-in, clock-out” workdays go back to 19th century socialism. And well, this is not the 19th century anymore. Between meetings, emails and Slack interruptions, how many hours are we really productive?

Companies should be thinking about their employees meeting goals, not office hours.

If the company’s goals and project objectives are clear, everyone can align and work at their rhythm while attaining them at a healthy rhythm. I’m talking about asynchronous, non-linear goals.

I live in Colombia, and for over 14 years I’ve worked as a consultant for remote/distributed companies around the world. We’ve met and connected through Skype, Slack, Gmeet, zoom, etc. Then twice a year we’ve met and connected. I’ve made lifelong business partners, mentors, and friends this way.

Of course, this requires the right culture to be in place, one of being dependable a team player, and respecting each other’s focus time. Especially not cramping everyone’s calendar with meetings.

When can you get actual, focused work done if all you ask your team is to be on Zoom meetings all day? One or two should suffice, with the rest being async communications.

Output over time.

We should focus on expertise and contribution, but not buying chair-hours.


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