Top Employees Work More Than You Think

How many hours do you think your employees really work?

When we take out the water-cooler chats, bathroom breaks, and general distractions, it is probably 80% capacity or about 6.5 hours/day, or 32 hours/week.  

What about if they are working from home? In my experience, the biggest concern managers of remote teams had is doing personal tasks, and my experience is documented. Surely they are doing the dreaded laundry or dishes so they must only work 4 hours or less from home, right? 

Studies continue to show that people who work from home tend to work longer hours and be more productive. A study from Airtasker showed that “[o]n average, remote employees worked 1.4 more days every month, or 16.8 more days every year, than those who worked in an office.” 


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But there is one component that I don’t think is talked about as much – time spent thinking. The time spent thinking about work I believe is more prevalent in your top performers. How much time do you think your employees spend thinking about work? Do you think your top performers’ minds just shut down the minute they aren’t in front of their computer or in a meeting? 

How we define “work” and productivity matters. We are worried if our team isn’t completing an assigned task. But what if, we imagine that their time thinking – solving problems in their heads that could save hours of time with hands-on keyboards or in meetings – what if that time is also productive?

At my former company, during leadership training, we had an interesting discussion. If someone is traveling and you are paying them for that time, should they be working on the plane? Some said without the internet their team couldn’t do much. Others said there is always something they could do and expect them to have their laptop out. I believe in a different direction. Rather than having them doing those tasks, let them relax. Let them think.

For me, I often work without a laptop in front of me. I can have my head back and my eyes closed, but I am still working. How? I am imagining a data flow from a CRM to ERP,  solving some integration problems. Or I am comparing one solution I did for one client to a problem of another, finding parallels and tweaks that would be needed. 

I am not alone – this is how the human mind works. We can be more creative when not thinking about specifics in front of a computer screen. We need to allow time and freedom to think and have creative ideas. 

How do you create room for your team to be creative? How about yourself? 

What are your thoughts? Comment below!


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