Working Conversations Episode 109:
Productivity Paranoia - Obsessing that Your Colleagues Aren't Working
Are you constantly worried that your colleagues or direct reports aren't really working when they're working remotely or in a different location? If so, you may be experiencing productivity paranoia.
It's a phenomenon that's becoming more and more prevalent as remote work becomes the norm.
Essentially, productivity paranoia refers to a manager or senior leader’s suspicion that their employees are working as effectively as they should – simply because they can’t physically see them.
But here's the thing: it's not only counterproductive, it's also damaging to the trust and relationships within your team.
At the core of productivity paranoia is trust – or lack thereof. Without trust, it's easy to assume the worst and constantly worry about whether or not your colleagues are actually working. However, this paranoia can be damaging to both you, your colleagues, and your organization, leading to stress, tension, and – in fact – a lack of productivity.
In this episode, I explore productivity paranoia and explain why it’s important to address it and work to prevent it.
To prevent productivity paranoia from taking over, here are four specific actions you can take:
- In the absence of data to the contrary, assume positive intent.
- Distinguish between checking in on employees and checking up on them.
- Have an open conversation about work habits, working hours, structure of the day, etc.
- Find out if they have enough work.
By taking these actions, you can create a more positive and productive work environment, free from the anxiety and stress of productivity paranoia.
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