The Toxic Nature of Productivity in the Tech Industry

Tech companies have become obsessed with employee productivity, with leaders looking to simultaneously dismiss “poor performing” employees and pressure the remaining workforce to increase their productivity even more. The pandemic drove workforces to remote offices, where executives and managers have a harder time monitoring how employees work from their homes. Now, with the pandemic seemingly behind them, tech organizations are mandating employees return to their expensive physical offices or implementing oppressive time-tracking and productivity surveillance software.

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Emphasizing productivity over quality is a dangerously toxic habit for tech enterprises of all sizes. Employees internalize the pressures of productivity, often prioritizing it over their own health and well-being. Many managers seemingly base their concerns on intuition rather than results, driving an increase in the usage of employee surveillance products that may hurt more than help. While the focus on productivity may induce short-term results, it can also lead to employee churn and burnout.

Some organizations have found success using a hybrid method that marries hard output metrics with soft metrics, taking into account factors such as employee happiness and introducing enhanced work-from-home policies. Now that the entire landscape of work has evolved into something new, productivity evaluation must be reworked to match it.