The simple definition of “Productive” is yielding favorable or useful results and “Efficiency” is the ability to do something or produce something without wasting materials, time, or energy. Productivity is also used to measure efficiency, as an aid in economic planning and forecasting, and as a means of assessing the uses to which resources are being put. As to the first of these, the efficiency of industrial operations, for instance, may be evaluated by the yardstick of output per worker or machine.

Productivity is a Function of Time – and hence can serve as a standard for grading and evaluating any group of workers performing common tasks, distinguishing the more from the less productive.

What is critical to know and keep a base is the term “Function of Time”. Rewind three decades back – In an 8 hour day without the aid of communications and technology the work output was less. To ensure that the efficiency and productivity of an employee increases technology aids like the computer, pager, faxes, mobile phones, etc. came and made the same two day work get over within a day. So far so good and I am presuming that all of you reading this is absolutely in sync with my thoughts.

Fast forward and coming to our present time – Absolutely super technologies like Real Time collaboration solutions, better work tools, faster systems at work aid all of us to be more productive and efficient. But hang on – something is amiss since all of us are working a minimum 10/12 hours a day if not more. Are we being inefficient and less productive? How do you measure which employee is more productive? I guess the fundamental term “Function of Time” is somehow getting blurred and getting erased from today’s corporate world. If an employee works between 9am – 6pm, all these technology aids will help him in being productive and for an employer it becomes easy to judge the more efficient employee since the base “Function of Time” is constant.

Unfortunately, if you use technology wisely you can get work done faster however, the amount of work keeps on increasing and organizations expect you to complete those – as a result a 12 hour day, working on weekends becomes a norm rather than an aberration.

The article on TOI – Dying at 22 is too steep a price for being “The Best”. It is so sad to read Sarvshreshth Gupta’s story who got a brilliant job in the US of A but had to work long hours with a constant stressful environment of performance. Was he inefficient and not productive to finish his tasks early? The answer is NO. He had to pay the price of being efficient and productive but could not take the downward spiral of the organization’s demands.


Food for Thought –

  • Who is more efficient?
    • Base line – Two same caliber employees (Employee A | Employee B) equally good in using technology to their aid.
    • Same Task
    • Task can be finished in 16 hours (optimum)
    • Office timings – 9am – 6pm

Employee A – Finishes in 2 days (8 hours a work/day)

Employee B – Finishes in 1.5 days (He works for 12 hours in Day 1 and completes the remaining in Day 2)

Keep in mind that the work taken to complete the task is the same (16 hours). Employee B stretches, sacrifices his “life” balance to get his work done faster as he presumes.

Give a Thought on how we are unnecessary creating a stressful environment around us. Is it Worth the sacrifice all of us are undergoing?

Published with permission.

Image courtesy of [pakorn] at


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