|One thing this whole coronavirus quarantine is pointing out is the futility of tracking progress by the number of hours worked. When I physically go to work, and I'd imagine this is the same for most people, I'm required to be there for a certain number of hours, regardless of the actual amount of work I do. What I've found while working from home these past two weeks is that I'm accomplishing way more actual measurable work in much less actual time, while still technically "being present" or putting in the same amount of official work time (in case my employer is reading this, yes I put in the correct amount of hours and yes I filled out my timesheet, now leave me alone). Part of it is that I don't want my employer to take away the option of working from home, so I'm sort of intentionally working harder. But there's also the fact that there are so ridiculously fewer distractions when I'm not in an office environment, especially for someone like me who is incredibly introverted, and especially for the type of work I do which is collaborative at the project level but extremely individual at the working level. For me, there's a stark difference in productivity between being present at an office and working quietly alone at home.
This brings up the pesky question of what exactly counts as work. For hourly workers and/or workers who are expected to be present at an office for a set amount of time, the types of activities that qualify as work are quite varied. Waiting for a computer to boot up? Work. Bathroom break? Work. Water cooler discussions? Work. Leaving the office for lunch? Not work. Taking a walk outside? Not work. Staring mindlessly at a computer? Work.
I would argue that more work gets done sometimes during what would traditionally be considered non-working time. Again, especially for me and the types of things I do, I often get the most done while I'm taking a break outside or when I'm commuting home. A lot of times, just having a break in flow or surroundings helps my brain solve an issue I was having or approach a problem from a different angle. Those times don't technically count as work because I'm not in an office, at a computer, or somehow otherwise checking the boxes that official work entails. But it's work, and it's valuable, and I hope the employers of the world come around to this idea. #business