We've all heard someone brag about how much they work (and have likely done so ourselves). There comments may even make you wonder if you should work more. The boundaries inside and outside of work have blurred with modern technology, making it easier to work anywhere and try to stretch your productivity. Go to a restaurant, airport, resort, or just about anywhere and you will see people looking frantically busy.

Curiously, new research has found that this "busyness" has become the new status symbol for our time. It's an old cliché that time is money. When you are the resource, the impression that your time is scarce creates a perception that your time is more valuable. Thus, there is an economic benefit to being busy.

Perhaps this is part of the reason why many workers - particularly in the United States - routinely do not use much of their vacation time each year. It is worth noting that in Europe the opposite effect was found; whereas in the U.S. busyness is perceived as a sign of success, in Europe it is not and a greater emphasis was placed leisureliness.

I think the caliber or quality or work is going to be increasingly what matters; time spent working will no longer be a proxy for quantity or productivity. Already we are are seeing companies forcing this issue by paying for vacation and mandating time off. They do so because busyness can lead to stress, distraction, and lowered productivity.

Think about yourself, your team, and your company - do you want to have productivity or busyness? Maybe it's time to ditch this status symbol.

Published on: Mar 23, 2017