Covid has done something to our expectation for work. Back in the old days we used to have natural breaks in the working day – walking to the tea room, chatting with a friend over the water cooler, commuting to and from work, and simply walking from meeting to meeting. Nowadays that has all changed.
Many of us are stuck behind our computers day in and day out, hour after hour with a constant feeling of working hard and never reaching the end of the tasks. Many people across the world are complaining about burnout, but similarly many CEOs are noticing a concerning reduction in productivity.
Yes we have heard about quiet quitting the global discussion about people passively resisting work by doing the bare minimum, but if I observe myself, something else is amiss. Something is happening whereby our productivity is down, our stress load is up and the to do list keeps on growing.
One indication of what is going wrong might be found in the research within Microsoft’s Human Factors Lab, who measured the brain activity of 14 individuals. They found a distinct difference between those who took breaks between meetings and those who didn’t. Those with breaks showed brain activity what was steady and experienced “coolness”. Those who worked solidly without breaks showed brain activity that increased with time, suggesting a “build-up of mental stress”.
Is this one of the reasons we are feeling more overloaded, but less productive? Is this a reason for returning to variations and variety that the office brings?
It’s food for thought, isn’t it?
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About the Author
Catherine Wijnberg is the CEO of Fetola and author of Sheep Will Never Rule The World