Productivity in co-Covid world
A good work ethic is not simply one about being a worker who delivers but one that reconstitutes the employee’s desire to be at work every next day
PRODUCTIVITY is a much-talked about word in today's day and age. We are consistently urged to be productive, to make the most of the opportunities offered by space, time and circumstance. How much of the day do we take away as it takes away from us, and what we accomplish with the passing away of time often serves as a key determinant of self-worth.
However, is productivity enjoyable and cherished, or is it a euphemism for hours of uninspiring labour? In the event of Covid-19, if the workday had the potential to burden us before the pandemic, how do we make sense of being productive in a co-Covid world? What does being productive mean to us personally?
These questions find no easy answers as the relationship between satisfaction and productivity has always been a fraught one. A 2019 poll conducted by Gallop revealed that only 15 per cent of the world's one billion full-time workers were engaged in their jobs, while the other 85 per cent remained dissatisfied and unhappy.
These are concerning statistics and we could be on either side of the coin. In either circumstance, how do we make productivity work for ourselves? How do we find fulfilment in work?
How do we make sense of our aspirations and efforts in general?
To attempt finding resolutions to these concerns, it is necessary to not accept an imposed definition of productivity, and not evaluate work merely based on whether we accomplish certain things in certain durations.
Work is more than a race against the clock and chasing deadlines; it is a contribution to the world and must be valued in the same sense. A good work ethic is not simply one about being a worker who delivers but one that reconstitutes the employee's desire to be at work every next day.
In other words, it is important to foster a culture of productivity that emancipates instead of burdening and makes work appear relevant and inviting.
Such cultures are nearer than we think, as exemplified by redefinitions of productivity during the crisis engendered by Covid-19.
Technology and innovation paved ways to reimagine the workplace and provide new avenues for professional satisfaction. A study by BCG showed how over 75 per cent of workers were able to maintain or improve productivity on their individual tasks in the first few months of the pandemic, despite the shift to a remote-working model and 70 per cent of managers said they are more open to flexible models for their teams than they were before the pandemic.
Technology, when used in unprecedented ways on an unimagined frequency, led to individuals moving beyond conventional routes to delivering output, harnessing their previously unused potential and doing it from a space of relative control and belonging. Working from home enabled an economizing of time and resources and provided people with flexibility while striving for professional goals.
BBC, in a January 2021 article, quoted specific individual workers on how they realized during the pandemic that productivity was not limited to delivering certain aimed results but also included things that brought them closer to overarching goals. In other words, the time spent outside their professional lives, for working on themselves was deemed productive as well.
This is powerfully exemplified by stories of people acquiring new skills during the lockdowns, disengaging with unnecessary situations and finding self-fashioned ideas and spaces of comfort and fulfilment.
These findings tell us that technology can be radically utilized to make work more rewarding and conducive, and in a co-Covid world, it certainly seems the way to go.
On an individual level, we can employ technology to ensure a streamlined workday.
Through a deft use of the right tools, scheduling and communication, which would have taken more time and effort in a conventional work setting, become seamlessly attainable.
Technology also enables us to adopt flexible work habits and keeps unnecessary things out of the way for an unrestricted engagement with professional commitments. Work, consequently, is likely to be better and feel rewarding at the end of the day.
However, outside externalities, productivity can appear satisfactory only when your mind and effort are attuned to the task you undertake. Beyond the workplace as well, we have personal occasions for productivity, such as improving our health or sorting out social and personal issues.
Therefore, our relationship with productivity must be driven by an internal impetus and a general quest to assess what we do and what a certain accomplishment means to us.
There are numerous liberating manifestations of being productive while staying in touch with ourselves. For instance, if we attempt to stop fixating on negative thoughts and end up doing it well, it can undoubtedly be deemed a productive endeavour.
Productivity is a measure to enliven and secure the self and provide it with a sense of purpose. It should therefore, not be seen as a task to accomplish but a driving force, an energy that illuminates our will to live. This deeply intimate, life-affirming aspect of productivity must not be forgotten as we wade through our everyday challenges.
Productivity, in fact, necessitates looking both outside and inside and provides avenues for exemplary growth and contentment on both sides of the coin. Thus, go ahead, embrace an aware, self-enriching productive spree and cherish the vitality every effort of yours has to offer!
The author is founder, Upsurge Global and Senior Advisor, Telangana State Innovation CellProductivity, Covid 19, Relationship