Productivity is notoriously hard to measure. As a result, face-time has been the key “measure” to prove value. So when people work off-site or even just away from their desk they give up traditional face-time credit AND they make people wonder about what they’re doing all day.
In fact, measuring productivity goes hand-in-hand with mobility. The original mobile workers – sales – have always been “measured” with sales targets and rankings. For everyone else the key performance measure was simply showing up – mostly because if you weren’t there you couldn’t get anything done anyway.
The niggling question about what mobile workers are doing all day cranks up a formerly dim spotlight on service-sector productivity. That light shines on traditional employees’ contributions too.
Now everyone has to ask, what am I actually contributing and how can I prove it?
Here’s a start: a finite list of ways that office employees contribute value, in no particular order. It turns the classification of “Finders, Minders, and Grinders” inside out by looking at specific work-product (output) rather than generic role.
- Administrative processing
- Problem solving
While true value comes from holistic combinations of inputs and insights, whether by one person or by a group, it all depends on stuff getting done. You can now ask yourself (or about your co-workers):
How much time do you allocate to each value-producing area?
How many of x units are produced in each area, over a specific time period?
How is quality defined for this unit of work?
Which activities, if any, require face-to-face interaction with co-workers?
As mobile work shines a light on productivity we can all use the reflection to better understand the actual value produced in a day of work.