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Working Hard or Working Efficiently?

Jason Fletcher


Companies often feel that they are getting the most out of their employees if everyone is working as hard as possible for as long as possible. However, this can be exhausting on the employees and can lead to diminishing returns. We feel that the better approach is to emphasize efficiency over effort, and our level of productivity speaks for itself.

Working in a ROWE gives us an advantage in working efficiently because we can better handle common productivity pitfalls. Stress rears its ugly head in many projects. In a typical 9-to-5 (or even later) the employee is chained to their chair and must work until the end of the day, or until a moment of escape presents itself. How much work is actually done in those last few hours as stress goes up and morale goes down? Because we have the freedom to work when we want we are able to step away from our projects for a few hours, do something that relaxes us, and try to tackle the problem in a better mindset. Given the break time we may work fewer hours in the day overall, but those fewer hours produced more than the stressed employee. The resulting code is also likely of a higher quality due to the more focused employee making fewer careless mistakes.

We are also able to avoid burnout by taking advantage of productivity bursts. Every developer has been on a programming tear, where they are able to crank out code at a blistering pace and don’t want to stop for fear of losing momentum. When they are done they may have completed a day’s work in a few hours. What to do next? Whatever you want, as long as you’re meeting your client’s needs.

Emphasizing efficiency over effort leads to happier employees, fewer errors, a higher quality product, and happy clients. Everyone wins. What other strategies can you use to maximize efficiency?

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