When it comes to work, we value quantity over quality

My sister is a graphic designer at a small firm. And as we all know that when it comes to creative field, the workers are given a free pass to delay any work assigned to them in the name of ‘creativity’. They can take hours and hours doing a small job, just because they were doing something which required some concentration, dollops of originality and hardcore thinking and conceptualization. She spends hours and hours working late at office and there is one significant trend. The days she returns home soon, she will always get a call/mail from her manager asking her to do ‘something more’. But when she returns home late at night, there are just no calls and emails. Even if she spent more time in meetings and doing intangible tasks rather than actual hands-on work. This made me think, are we obsessed with work hours than work quality?

In a Harvard Business Review article titled, Think Customers Hate Waiting? Not So Fast…, Ryan W. Buell and Michael I. Norton suggest that according to their research if you show people why a certain process is taking a long time to get better results then they will find waiting more tolerable. According to them, if customers see the work being done on their behalf then they value the service more and in process they are happy to wait.

The appearance of the effort matters more than the effort itself. It seems that this labor illusion is true in workplaces of today as well. Even if you have accomplished your work in an hour, let people believe that it took you many hours to complete it. That way it would seem more valued and worked upon, won’t it?

It seems that employers are judging their employees’ on the basis of their sweat and not when their brain cells are in action. It’s an extremely misleading way to judge the output of people on how much they are tired and exhausted, physically rather than mentally. So, if you’re just showing up at office on time, reading Playboy or Cosmo all day and leaving at 8 p.m. everyday, you have a better chance of earning a promotion rather than accomplishing all your tasks till 4 p.m. and leaving early. Work-Life balance just went out of the window.

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