Tip of the Week: How to Fight Productivity Paranoia in Employees

Tip of the Week: How to Fight Productivity Paranoia in Employees

Back in 2022, Microsoft coined the term “productivity paranoia,” referring to the fears that many managers have that remote workers aren’t working to their full productivity. However, as remote and hybrid work has continued for many companies, a different form has emerged: the feeling a worker has that they have to prove they are still productive while working from home.

Here are some tips to share with your team, so they can use them to avoid these feelings.

Productivity Paranoia is a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Let’s explore the phenomenon for a moment.

Let’s say that Jane Q. Public is one of those employees who has shifted to remote operations, and while it hasn’t impacted her productivity, she has heard that her bosses have been grumbling about “some people” working remotely not pulling their weight.

Uh oh. What if “some people” includes Jane? Suddenly, Jane feels super self-conscious about the work she’s doing and how her higher-ups are viewing her. These thoughts are pretty understandably distracting, and before long, she’s starting to feel pretty disengaged from the work she’s doing and burnt out.

When all is said and done, Jane ends up actually being unproductive, when she would have been fine otherwise… and it’s all because the idea that she wasn’t pulling her weight was introduced to her.

Putting a Plug in Productivity Paranoia

The truth is that everyone in an organization will have some part to play in terms of eliminating this toxicity.

Managers need to maintain open communications with their remote employees so that expectations can be established and progress can be evaluated. This will help them see the productivity that these employees can—and hopefully do—accomplish, and if they aren’t, they can more effectively address it. It also helps to establish career-based goals with your remote employees. What is it they want from their work? What would you like to see them accomplish? What would they like to see themselves doing in the future for the company?

As for your team members, they can come to these meetings with ideas ready to contribute. Furthermore, there are software tools that your team can use to keep track of their productivity more clearly, but these should be provided and managed by your company and its IT team.

Working together, you and your team members can come to an understanding and create a healthier working environment that ultimately gets more done.

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