Is Focusing on Hours a Generational Thing?

timecardThis is not a rhetorical question–I am openly wondering about this topic these days. I’m reading Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It, by Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson, advocates for the “Results Only Work Environment.” They talk a lot about how deeply ingrained our thoughts are regarding time in the workplace. It all stems from the industrial era–putting in your time at your machine. More time at the machine meant more productivity. It was pretty simple. But they (and I) argue that most jobs don’t operate that way any more. Productivity is not simply a factor of time at your desk any more, yet so many workplaces and bosses treat it that way.

But I have seen both bosses and employees have clear conversations with each other about the fact that it’s the results that matter, not the amount of time you put in. They seem to come to a solid agreement on this. No ambiguity. It’s not about the hours, no sir. And the next day one or both of them will make a comment about how someone left early or came in late and isn’t pulling their weight. This perplexes me. The logic is not enough to actually sway the underlying belief.

That’s why I thought it might be generational. When something hits on values you set when you were coming of age, logic is often no match. But again, I don’t have conclusive research here–I’m looking for your thoughts on this. I’m wondering if this focus on hours and time in the office is a Baby Boomer thing. Maybe it’s connected to that ethos of the 60s of showing up, marching, sitting in, showing your commitment. There was no flex time during a march. You couldn’t telecommute to a sit-in. The Boomers proved that if you worked hard enough you could change the world, but hard work was predicated on showing up. In person.

What do you think?

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