⭐ pretending to work
This morning my manager told me in a meeting that I need to be active on my work account at 8 AM each morning, not 9 AM like I am accustomed to doing.
What I hate most about jobs like this (most jobs, I'm aware) is how you have to pretend to work. Never mind that I had no work to do or no meetings to attend this morning. Or that we worked till as late as 10 PM on some days last week. What's important is that I am active, not necessarily doing productive work, but that I log in just so a little green circle appears next to my little profile on our company communication platform.
I don't really understand this obsession with time spent at my desk over all else, including productivity. You'd think that you might escape it working remotely in a knowledge job, but unfortunately where I work that's not the case. My manager chastises me more for not being online or responding quickly enough than for not getting enough done.
That being said, I'm still immensely grateful that I get to work from home remotely most of the time. Working in the office only exacerbates these problems, especially when you work in an open office like I do. Because there are so many people around, you have to pretend you're constantly working, even when you have nothing to do. At least when I'm at home I can use down time to do something, like stretch, read a book, rest my eyes, or write this blog post, all things that will help me recharge and be more productive when I do get back to work. In the office I don't feel comfortable taking frequent breaks like this, because the people working around me hardly get up throughout the course of the workday. (I think this is largely the doing of a few workaholics and pluralistic ignorance, where most people wish they could take more breaks but nobody does for fear of being seen as lazy or unproductive.) All this means that days working from the office leave me completely drained, eyes sour from staring at screens and so tired I could fall asleep standing up.
I used to work at one of Fortune's 100 Best Workplaces (I'm aware that the way they come up with those rankings is largely hogwash), and in our office it was common (even encouraged) to take frequent breaks. It's one thing to say that you're allowed to take breaks. It's another thing entirely when your whole team takes mandatory hourly breaks to do push-ups, kick a hacky sack around, or juggle. Now, I look back on those days more fondly than ever. There's a big difference between paying lip service to a healthy workplace culture and actually creating an environment where employees feel comfortable, even encouraged, to be their best selves.
P.S. Happy Halloween! I hope you have a lovely day free of unpleasantly spooky things. 👻🦇🎃