Worker Productivity Experiment

Yesterday, I decided to run a little experiment . . . on myself.  Yes, due to this my methodology was flawed, but if you hear me out you will see my awareness of the experiment was a part of it.

During college, I started as a psychology major.  I wanted to enter the field of industrial/organizational psychology.  Essentially, this field is dedicated to the study of the workplace–performance, ergonomics, compensation, etc.  What makes a happy worker?  What makes a productive worker?  However, the class was awful, due mostly to being taught by an adjunct who just did not do a good job teaching the subject matter.  I decided to move on to economics, a major I found more challenging yet still addressed many of the issues I was interested in but in different terms (supply/demand, equilibrium, etc.).

Yesterday, I decided to document a day at work.  My job environment is a little different–I have no coworkers and no accountability.  I am a very efficient worker who gets things done the right way the first time, and ahead of schedule.  But still . . . will I be able to transition to a work environment where I have coworkers, shared space, and deadlines that effect more than just a few people?  How much time do I “waste” doing non-work functions?  Is that time actually wasted if I still perform my job well?  Will I be able to cope in an environment without as much freedom as I now have?

I set up my laptop on the far end of my office and set my webcam on “time lapse.”  True, it wouldn’t document every minute of my “work,” but it would give me a vision of my day in just a few seconds.  I can’t post the video because some of my judges stopped by my office (and it’s also VERY boring).

What did I learn?  Not a whole lot.  I check my phone too much, but I knew that.  I sit awkwardly, which my neck/shoulder problems have already let me know.  I have the attention span of a hyperactive third-grader.  But yet I manage to manage my time efficiently and churn out excellent work product after work product.  Will I be able to transfer that to a more “conventional” work environment?  I hope so.

Another “element” of the experiment was seeing how being held accountable (being watched) would effect my productivity.  It made me a little nervous and definitely more aware of what I was doing, but I didn’t notice any real difference.  I still got done what I told myself I would get done that day. 

Lesson learned?  I’ll leave the experimentation to real scientists and the scientific method.  As for my productivity, I can see areas where I can improve, but I am apparently doing something right.  When it comes time to start a new work environment, I will take it as it comes and assume I will transition nicely.  If I don’t, then I will have learned that is not the best environment for me and I will take steps to seek employment in a suitable environment.

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