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Why we’re all so much busier in the office

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Many workers believe that appearing to be rushed off our feet in the office is the best way forward, while some even see it as a status symbol or mark of someone who works hard. To others it’s a sign that people are struggling to prioritise and cope with their workloads.

But, whether we’re just appearing to be busy or are actually drowning in a sea of paperwork, something has happened in the last few decades that indicates we are all so much busier in our working lives. So what is the cause?

Many will admit that the 40 hour working week is a thing of the past, while most find themselves checking work emails before bed and organising their schedules before they get into the office.

The cost of living has got higher and in times of recession and referendum people have worried about job security, which in turn has made them work even harder to prove their worth.

Some people feel that the advent of technology has made us so much busier, because we are never out of reach of our inboxes, and as we do more, we create more work for others, who in turn are always within reach too.

As more and more technological developments emerge, people have more things to keep up to date with and this can add to the workload, but in reality it’s back to the basics of how we deal with that workload that makes all the difference.

In an article for Personnel Today, business psychologist Tony Crabbe said that ‘busyness’ was not actually essential, despite the increasing tidal wave of technology. Apparently there are five reasons why, one of which includes busy being the easy option. Strange you might find, but, when you think about it, isn’t it actually easier to accept the added workload, rather than learn to say no?

Procrastination is another reason that he sites for added busyness, where people put off the big things that they don’t want to tackle while making themselves frantically busy with the little things to make up for it.

For the many who believe that time management is key, he says that time management only leads to greater efficiency and the space to take on even more. In turn, this can lead to reduced focus and a scattered attention span.

While there’s no doubting that as the years progress, there’s more to take on board and learn, is it how we manage our time that is the vital part?

Tony says: “In order to succeed (…) you have to cut through the noise and be noticed. In focusing on doing more things and being more productive, the big stuff – the thinking and creativity - gets squeezed out. We don’t need to be more productive, we need to do less, better.”

It’s certainly something to think about. In every part of our lives the “less haste, more speed” mantra seems to achieve results, so perhaps it’s something we should put into practice in the workplace too?


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