Constant Connectivity Is Making Us Busy, Not Productive

 In the last article, we discussed how meetings create huge losses in productivity. This week, we will take a look at the second largest disruptor at both work and home: technology. More specifically, how continuous connectivity is creating an environment of always being busy, but not necessarily being productive.



Economist John Maynard Keynes predicted in the 1930s that his grandchildren would only be working 15 hours per week, and that the remainder of the week would be spent enjoying life. While technology has allowed us to do more in less time, we are not logging in fewer hours at our desks.

The truth is that we are working more, but this work is not necessarily productive or performed during normal work hours. Between meetings, responding to emails, and impromptu conversations with colleagues, the average person spends less than three hours per day actually getting work done. Constant connectivity means that the vast majority of people never truly leave work. Whether it is intentional or not, we have become programmed to look at or respond to incoming emails, messages, or calls even when we are technically “off the clock.”

The lack of work-life balance has become a worldwide epidemic. In Japan, people work so hard that they literally die because of it. They even have a word for it – karoshi – which means death from overworking. This term describes deaths due to heart failure, starvation, or suicide as a direct result from working too hard.

Because people are working longer hours, but not necessarily more productive hours, many organizations are experimenting with reduced work weeks. Here are two examples of success:

A New Zealand company piloted a 32-hour workweek for one month to measure productivity and employee satisfaction. Workers were paid the same, but only worked Monday through Thursday. At the end of the study, there was an increase of 24% in employee satisfaction with no decrease in productivity.

Healthcare has historically been an industry where many believed that reduced schedules were not possible. However, in Sweden, a nursing home and a hospital both experimented with reduced schedules and saw great success. Both institutions implemented six-hour shifts, which resulted in a decrease in absenteeism and an increase in overall health and productivity. The hospital also saw decreased wait times and increased efficiency. Staff were able to perform 20% more surgical procedures.

The moral of this story is that being constantly connected to your work will not make you more productive. It can actually have the opposite effect. In fact, working less hours can make you more productive while increasing your health and happiness both in and out of work.

Gary Vice is sought out by leaders in Software and Services who recognize the need to attract the industry’s best talent.  Through Strategic Recruiting Partners’ extensive network of relationships, they are able to identify high level opportunities for well qualified candidates.  To discover how this process can benefit your job search, simply reply to this email or call Gary at 469.402.4008.