The Changing Workplace

By Dr. Martin M. Lwanga

Hard work or results what matters most? US President Donald Trump has often claimed that he is the most hard working President ever to lead that nation.

For many of his critics they quickly point out that based on the hours he puts in office with a specially curved out early morning time to himself – he calls it “Executive time”- such a person doesn’t fit the bill. His critics are not alone. Still today there are many people who equate working long hours to productivity.

The view that the longer you work the more productive is one has apparently been discredited by ample research. In a book written by Professor Morten T Hansen of University of Berkeley, California, US who investigated 5000 workers in various specialties the conclusion was that the most productive staff are those who select a few activities and apply all intensity to excel. They produce far more than those used to the over 50 hour work week.

In fact, according to his findings the workers who excel are what you may call “niche” workers. These are staff who find a few areas of concentration instead of spreading themselves thin. By doing more of one thing they become better and soon there are at the top of their trade. Specialization and focus, not trying to be be everything is what counts.

In the old feudal world of slave drivers whipping workers on farms to yield more cotton or the early days of the industrial revolution where the longer one spent on the factory floor the more nuts he produced, long hours mattered most. Technology has changed much of that. Occupations that used to be handled manually many are now automated, like say Bank  teller jobs, many which have been taken by ATM machines.  Smart working is becoming the norm.

As we enter into the age of artificial intelligence we are bound to feel that effect more, meaning that it is your know how that will count and make you matter most. The workplace will no longer be designed to amass employees but the key question will be: results!

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