Too Much Work?
I read an article the other night about getting sick on vacation while I was throwing some last minute items into my suitcase for an upcoming trip. Yes, you read that right, I was multitasking by reading and packing at the same time. I’m supergirl! But seriously the article mentioned why you seem to come down with that nasty cold right before or while on that much needed vacation most of us Americans rarely take. (Side note: It is such a shame we don’t follow most of the ways of the Europeans who vacation and take time off regularly. They seem healthier and happier working less while still getting the same amount of work done ... but that’s another topic for another time … or maybe later in the blog if I get on a roll.) Though the article was very interesting actually. It mentioned that we stress more leading up to a vacation which makes us more likely to catch whatever nasty bug has been circulating the office. Luckily I work from home and always pack a month in advance because I’m so excited but the last minute stress of going over the checklist does put me in a tizzy sometimes.
The article also mentioned most Americans only usually take a true vacation trip once a year but studies show how time off to relax greatly improved our physical and mental health which then in turn makes us more productive and focused at work. So why do we not take more time off? Or why do most companies look down on employees when they take time away from the office? I wish I knew what their logic was because I would probably disagree with it. I remember “working for the man” and how it bothered my sleep, made me stressed, caused me to get sick more often, etc. but now that I’m self employed I make sure I take time for myself so that I’m operating at 100% while working. I know this isn’t always possible but I strongly suggest it to anyone who feels burnt out or overwhelmed. A job is a job. I know we all need to make money to survive but at what cost?
Owning a recruiting firm allows me to have so many great conversations with folks about what they wish was different in their current situation. It helps me pair them with a new opportunity that both fits their and the client’s/employer’s needs. The biggest thing I hear is the need for flexibility. Most people want more time at home with their families or just for themselves. I think this is very healthy and in the long run makes that employee a better asset to whatever company they work for. So any employers reading this I strongly suggest you reevaluate your time off policies and keep in mind a sane minded employee will value their work more when they feel their boss values them and the fact they are human and have a life outside of work.
I’m also a big proponent of setting goals by tasks completed rather than time at a desk in an office. Here I go … I told you I might be on a roll ... so settle in! I remember my old employer would say people were asking if I still worked there because they hadn’t seen me in a few days ... mind you I was in sales so if I wasn’t out in front of a client I wasn’t making the company money. I laughed and would say “If my ass is in my office I’m not doing my job.” They valued being seen instead of what I was doing when I was out on my own. Maybe it was a lack of trust based on previously experiences? But I was hitting my goals, and exceeding them, and they still had a problem with my absence in the office. They obviously were very old school and I outgrew their way of thinking quickly.
Another article I read was kind of a “Dear Abby” type letter from a boss asking if they should fire an employee that got all their work done in 2 hours and then just played video games the rest of the day. I loved the response from the columnist. They said “Why punish someone who is churning out good work with efficiency? Why not examine the people who are taking all 8 hours to do the same type/amount of work?” I completely agree. I tell my business partner that I’d rather her do a weeks worth of work in 2 hours a day if she can rather than grind away for 8 hours. It’s all about efficiency and proper time management! No this isn’t always possible but when it is I encourage it. Go see a movie, take a nap, I don’t really give a hoot what you do if the work I need is done. I give out tasks and you get paid for completing them … that's how a job works, right? If it takes you longer ... that’s on you. Now maybe the people who are taking longer than others might just need some time management assistance but my guess is they are expected to sit with their ass in a chair for 8+ hours a day to earn their pay so they make it seem like it takes that full time to get their work done. I usually get more done at home because I’m not wasting my time on useless meetings or catching up with a coworker about my weekend plans. Remote working I think is the future and productive goals should be set instead of punching a timecard. You may blame my thinking on being a millennial (I’m actually just a tad too old to fit that exact category) but I agree with their way of thinking. They aren’t lazy ... they are efficient.
My last words ... there was a meme (yes, I said meme) that said “Millennials can’t afford rent but a baby boomer is making six figures but can’t convert a Word doc into a PDF” which is so true this day and age. We are in the mindset for paying people who put in their time instead of paying for the efficient use of a certain set of skills. Don’t get me wrong ... I’m all about compensating loyalty if someone is a good worker but I’d rather pay someone skilled for a full days worth of work (even when they get it done in 2 hours) than pay someone to sit at a desk for show because they feel like the last 20 years of commitment to a company feels entitled to a continued paycheck. But that's just my two cents.
P.S. Sorry for those of you pissed off about this article. Maybe you need a nap or a vacation to ease your grumpiness. Take it from me ... it does wonders.