Should we be aiming for slower productivity?

Should we be aiming for slower productivity?

We’ve all heard the proverb, “the candle that burns twice as bright, burns half as long”. The same might be said for hardworking employees; it is common for highly productive workers to burn out quickly – should they start taking it down a notch?

And what does that mean for the organisations at which these people work?

Should productivity be a rushing avalanche or a slow-moving glacier?

Productivity, for many, means getting more things done fast – synonymous, in a way, with efficiency. However, being highly productive is not something that most people can afford to maintain. Indeed, according to’s Task Management Trends Report, only 12% of office employees can be productive at any given time.

Is it high time for companies to reconsider the traditional concept of productivity? Rather than efficient task-crunching machines, should workers start taking things slowly and consider working at their most comfortable pace? This is what slow productivity is all about – taking more time to do the same amount of work, in an effort to be, ironically, more productive.

Why should companies embrace slow productivity?

The concept of slow productivity may be counterintuitive for businesses looking to follow a growth trajectory (read: all businesses). However, leaders should give it a thought, as implementing a more relaxed policy for productivity yields the following benefits:

1. Extra care at work

When workers take their time to do their jobs, they get more time to ensure that they are doing their work properly. The result is a more careful execution that gives ample room for workplace safety.

2. More room for creativity

Working at a rushed pace essentially turns any employee into a task-crunching automaton, which makes them no different from AI or automated tools that could take over their job. Taking things down a notch gives them time to think creatively, allowing them to come up with solutions that benefit the company and turn them into valuable members of their respective teams. 

3. It gives way to realistic expectations

Employees tend to over-promise to impress their bosses; conversely, overconfident managers have a habit of setting unrealistic goals. Slow productivity conditions both parties to put their expectations within realistic limits, allowing for a more relaxed workplace that minimises the risk of burnout in the event of a failure. 

4. Improved mental health

A more relaxed workplace where slow productivity is the norm is a less stressful workplace. Less stress, then, means that the workers are kept in top mental shape, allowing them to be consistently productive, albeit at a slower pace. 

5. Increased productivity

While one may expect slow productivity to result in a performance drop, that should not be the case. By keeping work volume at a reasonable level, employees become less prone to burning out. In turn, they consistently bring value to their company with reduced risks of falling off the productivity game. 

Is slow productivity good for your company?

Slow productivity may be a game-changer for companies whose workforce suffers from high burnout rates. The same may not be true for larger organisations with more expendable human resources, but it won’t hurt to consider the concept and implement it at a small scale. Sometimes, people just need to slow down and take a breather. 

About Sam P

EnterpriseZone Staff Writer

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