Productivity is defined as the effectiveness of effort. It’s usually measured in terms of output per unit of input. The idea being that “productivity” is good when small amounts of input produce large amounts of output (of course, with high quality). Today’s reader note is all about productivity, so it’s important to keep the definition in mind.
I’m searching for an article or some expertise on the subject of disruption in the workplace. I work in an administrative office that’s highly unproductive due to some employees ‘partying it up’ on the company’s time. The workplace has been disrupted to the point that hard work is ridiculed and taking on a productive role leaves you outcast. The office has become so hostile and toxic. If you don’t participate in the so-called camaraderie, you’re outcasted and segregated. Sad.
There’s a lot of subjectivity in this note. I don’t really know if the office is unproductive. And I don’t know the extent of the partying. I also don’t know if the situation can be changed. What I can tell is that this reader is upset. They feel like they are being excluded and that’s not a good thing. Here are a few things to consider when you’re frustrated about something at work.
Can you wait it out? What I mean here is this just a phase that the department is going through or is this going to last an incredibly long time. I’ve seen new managers do a bit more socializing with their teams to build rapport and then back off. Or when teams are working on a big project, they might spend more time together socially and then when the project is wrapping up, they start to spend less. The question becomes can you wait it out until the office partying subsides?
Should you try it out? I’ll be honest. There are times when I’ve gotten the resources I need over drinks during happy hour. I don’t need to participate every time. I don’t need to drink alcohol. And I don’t need to stay all night. But sometimes saying “yes” to coffee or a after work beverage has been helpful. And it’s ultimately helped the productivity of my department. Positive work relationships are built during those casual moments. Does it make any sense to occasionally participate?
Is it time to let it go? If you love your job, should you just ignore all of the shenanigans and focus on your work? It is possible that the senior management of the company notices that you’re productive, even if there are others who aren’t. And maybe they have a plan for dealing with the unproductive ones, you just don’t know about it. At that point, the employee has to ask themselves, “Am I okay with just doing my thing and not worrying about the others?” Only the employee can answer that one.
Are you prepared to leave? I know that most people don’t want to hear this, but if you don’t want to wait, aren’t inclined to participate, and can’t let it go…then there are very few other options left. I’m not saying that you need to waltz into your boss tomorrow and just up and quit but think about what you’re prepared to do (and not do). Maybe one of these other options are worth a try if the only way to gain some workplace peace is leaving.
I understand that right now things are a bit unproductive and unsettling. A few months ago, it was clearly a candidate’s market and organizations were struggling to find talent. Today, the job landscape is different. But I don’t know that when faced with an unpleasant work environment the options you have are different. Take your time, evaluate what’s going on, and be honest about what you’re open to trying. The good news is that you don’t have to make the decision right away so you can make the right decision for yourself and your career.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring the streets of Atlanta, GA14