By now, we’ve all probably heard of the terms quiet quitting and quiet firing. But for those unfamiliar with them, the former means simply doing the bare minimum in your job instead of following hustle culture.
The latter refers to the deliberate or unintentional mistreatment of employees by employers to the point that they voluntarily quit their home-based jobs. Between the two, quiet firing is more sinister, as it involves employers mistreating their workers.
But now, there is another term that you should know. And that term is called productivity paranoia. What is productivity paranoia? What are its effects on the workplace? And how to deal with it? Let’s find out.
Defining Productivity Paranoia.
The term productivity paranoia originates from a 2022 Microsoft Work Trend Report. It refers to employers thinking their employees aren’t being productive, while employees believe they’re being productive. In a lot of cases, employees are actually burnt out from work.
Although this term is new, there has already been a disconnect between employers and employees regarding remote work productivity. According to the Microsoft report:
- Eighty-seven percent (87%) of remote workers report being productive at work.
- That said, only twelve percent (12%) of bosses believe that their teams are productive.
- Hybrid and remote managers are considered less trustworthy compared to on-site managers (thirty-six percent (36%) to forty-nine percent (49%).
Because of their distrust in their employees, employers have tried using more and more tracking and monitoring systems to control them. Unsurprisingly, this has led to friction with their workers, as they feel that these systems are making remote work unsustainable.
Signs You or Your Boss Are Experiencing Productivity Paranoia.
Worried that you or your boss are experiencing productivity paranoia? Here are some signs you need to watch out for:
Constant Meetings and Productivity Checks.
Meetings are a normal part of the workplace. It allows managers to check on the status of their subordinates -while employees remain up to date with what is going on with the company.
However, if all you and your team did lately is hold meeting after meeting, something’s wrong. Instead of boosting productivity, having too many meetings can negatively affect and disrupt everyone’s focus on their work.
Your Boss is Giving You Too Many Tasks.
Another effect of paranoia in the workplace is your boss piling more work on your plate. Since they don’t believe you’re being productive, despite accomplishing your tasks, they’ll want to see more evidence that you truly are working.
Rather than reward you with more spare time for finishing your assignments quickly, they’ll give you more work instead. This increased workload also means you’ll have less time to rest or be with your family.
This situation leads to increased stress and burnout, which leads to employees resigning from their jobs. If you don’t have time to rest, how can your boss expect you to be productive tomorrow?
Your Boss Micromanages You and Your Subordinates Too Much.
There’s nothing wrong with your boss giving you advice on how to do your work. It helps you find new ways to approach your tasks and be more productive. That said, if they make you feel like you’re being watched, then it becomes a problem.
Having your boss hovering over you can make you feel conscious and unsure of your work. You’ll constantly ask yourself: “Why is my boss constantly watching over me?” or “Is there something I’m doing wrong?”
So instead of focusing on your work, you’re focused on your boss, which can negatively affect the quality of your work.
Lack of Trust Between You, Your Subordinates, and Your Boss.
Trust is essential in the workplace, whether in an office or remotely. A common trend with these signs is the lack of trust between you and your boss.
If your boss trusts in your work, they won’t need to demand continuous progress reports, nor will they micromanage you. They’ll let you do your work in the manner you see fit as long as you accomplish your tasks on time.
How Do You Deal With Productivity Paranoia?
If left unchecked, productivity paranoia is a grave problem in the workplace. Fortunately, there are ways to deal with this and reestablish trust in the workplace. These include:
Empathize With Your Subordinates.
Remember, you’re not the only one adjusting to the shift to home-based jobs. Your subordinates are also in the same boat as you, if not worse, depending on their situation.
Imagine if your boss constantly looks over your shoulder as you work. Would you like it? Of course not. You’d want them to trust that you can accomplish your tasks without them looking over your shoulder. So why do that to your subordinates?
Organize Regular Meetings.
There’s a big difference between regularly scheduled meetings and unscheduled ones. The former is part of your and your team’s schedule, while the latter isn’t and can be distracting to your progress.
Regularly scheduled meetings are a great way to communicate with your team and provide an opportunity to give constructive feedback to one another. But try to make these meetings as brief as possible so as not to disrupt your team’s progress.
Since you’re doing these meetings online, why not record them so you or your subordinates can view them again if needed.
Focus on Results.
Compared to working in an office, remote work focuses more on results rather than presence. One of the main advantages of working online is schedule flexibility, after all. If your subordinate can accomplish a task within four hours of their eight-hour shift, why not let them rest and prepare for tomorrow’s work?
Doing this boosts employee productivity, as they’re now working at their own pace instead of constantly rushing to get things done. In addition, this also incentivizes them to remain loyal to the company since they’re being treated well.
Trust is Key to Productivity.
Part of working online is learning to be more trusting of your subordinates since you can’t physically supervise them. However, many employers and supervisors are having trouble with this and instead believe their employees aren’t productive.
This productivity paranoia can severely hamper productivity or even incite your employees or subordinates to leave. Signs include too many meetings, employer micromanaging, and a lack of trust between employers and employees.
Fortunately, there are ways to deal with this, such as focusing on employee results instead of attendance and having regular progress meetings.
Ready to apply these lessons to an online job? Then head to Remote Staff and see our list of available openings. Good luck!