Productivity trumps presenteeism every time. Sure, input is necessary but output is what really counts. And we know that taking time out, little and often, helps us to stay sharp and to deliver. Here’s a little something that Katherine Wiid found out about and told me which may interest you:
A man by the name of Boice, has extensively researched the productivity of academics. Do you know that there is a differential of 7:1 between the best and ordinary academics?
Highly productive academics
* work early in the morning before the household gets up for 1 to 1.5 hours (maximum)
* work on one project at a time and working at it a little every day
* work in snatches of about 15 minutes and take mini breaks
Of course, then they go into the office and attend to the busy-work of universities and the complementary work of teaching. In working regularly every day and STOPPING, they achieve 7 times more than people who “binge” work.
Despite this, we often see people running from meeting to meeting, oh so terribly busy. It feels like a competition to outbusy everyone else. What’s the driver? Fear? An attempt to make oneself indispensable? Whatever it is, a long day with no breaks serves no one well.
Which brings me to smoking. I was with a friend yesterday who suggested that maybe smoking is good for you? What!! He explained…
Most organisations I know barely if ever bat an eyelid when a smoker gets up, and pops out for a cigarette break. And yet they can be gone for upwards of fifteen minutes, several times a day. Imagine the questioning a non-smoker would get if once every hour or two they got up and wandered off for quarter of an hour. “Haven’t you got work to do?” “Aren’t you busy enough?” It probably wouldn’t be tolerated; peer group pressure at least would likely make the habit fail. Yet a much more dangerous habit at least brings with it the potential benefit of increased productivity. So you see it turns out that smoking is good for you.
OK I’m kidding, and so was he. It isn’t. What is much better is to create a culture where it’s not only OK to take regular breaks, it’s encouraged. So, if you are in a position of visible leadership. Take a break. Encourage someone to join you. Do it again, and again. Just enough that other folk know it’s OK to refresh and recharge for their benefit, and your benefit, and the customers benefit, and the shareholders benefit…