Why Your Boss Still Values Performative Busyness & what to do about It


Why Your Boss Still Values Performative Busyness—and What to Do About It

Understanding Performative Busyness

Performative busyness is a common phenomenon in the workplace. It refers to employees appearing busy without being productive. Many bosses still value this behavior, often mistaking busyness for efficiency.

The Appeal of Performative Busyness

Bosses often equate being busy with dedication. Seeing employees constantly occupied can give the impression of a hardworking team. This perception can influence performance reviews and promotions.

Impact on Employee Productivity

Performative busyness can hinder real productivity. Employees spend more time looking busy than completing tasks. This can lead to burnout and decreased job satisfaction.

Why Bosses Value Busyness

Many bosses grew up in a culture that valued hard work. The visible signs of busyness align with their understanding of a strong work ethic. They might also believe it creates a dynamic, energetic workplace.

How to Address the Issue

  1. Focus on Results: Shift the focus from activity to outcomes. Highlight completed projects and their impact.
  2. Set Clear Goals: Define clear, measurable goals. This helps in assessing real productivity.
  3. Communicate Effectively: Have open discussions about work expectations. Explain the importance of efficiency over mere busyness.

Encouraging a Culture of Efficiency

Promote a culture that values efficiency. Encourage employees to prioritize tasks and manage their time effectively. Recognize and reward actual achievements rather than the appearance of busyness.

Implementing Changes in the Workplace

  1. Regular Check-Ins: Schedule regular meetings to discuss progress. This helps in maintaining a focus on results.
  2. Provide Training: Offer training on time management and productivity techniques.
  3. Use Technology: Utilize project management tools to track progress and efficiency.

Benefits of Reducing Performative Busyness

Reducing performative busyness can lead to numerous benefits. Employees will have more time to focus on meaningful work. This can improve job satisfaction and reduce stress. Ultimately, it leads to a more productive and happier workforce.

Performative busyness is a relic of past workplace cultures. By focusing on efficiency and results, you can create a more productive and satisfying work environment. Shift the focus from looking busy to being truly effective.


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