What is Work About Work?
December 05, 2022 | Tips & Tricks, Logical Talk
Work About Work is a relatively recent concept that was born in early 2020, shortly after the announcement of the global pandemic that caused workplaces worldwide to operate remotely.
Work About Work simply refers to all the tasks and activities one has to do to get a specific job done.
For example, say Stantoz is a creative design agency sending a website design proposal to a client. The sales manager – Tom – shares the requirements with the web development team, copywriting team, design team, SEO team and account management team to create a feasible proposal.
Tom's tasks of scheduling the meeting, chasing each department to give their inputs, and sending the proposal to each department for approval were the Work about Work Tom had to do to get one proposal out the door.
According to Asana's U.S. Anatomy of Work Index 2022, knowledge workers spend a whopping 58% of their entire workday doing Work for Work tasks. This means an employee spends over four-and-half hours out of an eight-hour workday doing noncritical tasks.
The numbers get worse as one goes up the rank.
The report says a higher proportion of Work about Work is done by the most expensive resources of any organization, where managers are spending 63 per cent and the C-suite 61 per cent more time than average on Work about Work.
Agile businesses require not only negligible hours lost to Work about Work but also a healthy balance between skilled work and strategy time. The Asana report highlights, "While skilled work is important, doing the right skilled work is difficult without strategic planning."
What Causes Work About Work and How to Prevent It?
Work About Work is a by-product of a combination of limitations at an organization which is not easily recognizable if one isn't looking for it.
Here are the top three reasons that cause Work about Work at an organization.
We have all wanted to speak in a meeting but got distracted by someone else's thoughts who spoke before you. And before we realize the meeting is over.Such scenarios lead to a need to have a side conversation with your colleague or the manager. This is where Work About Work comes into play, where everyone is working on what was agreed during the meeting, and you might have a completely different direction to get the job done.
It is critical for an organization to empower its workforce with the right combination of tools essential for their line of Work. For example, a purchasing manager's job is to look at multiple vendor sites to pull the best prices and load the costing in an integrated software system which is traditionally heavy files to load. In this scenario, if the purchasing manager has outdated computer hardware, one of two things is inevitable – the purchasing manager is highly stressed, or the quotes are not getting out to the clients on time.
To avoid slowness in Work, Idealogical holds the highest standard in the industry with our strict hardware policy. All the hardware we manage for our clients is within warranty or retired in time, as stated by the manufacturer. Our hardware policy ensures no productivity is lost or delayed due to tools unable to operate at their optimal capacity.
Lack of Automation in Processes
Automation has always been a gray subject depending on the industry, but automation is more empowering in the service industry than creating or eliminating jobs. A simple example of automation is scheduling meetings on a Microsoft Outlook calendar instead of a handwritten notebook or having a quoting tool for proposals instead of creating invoices using Microsoft Word. This will give hours back to a skilled employee to focus on strategic tasks.
To conclude, I acknowledge that putting a finger on any process within your organization to identify increased Work about Work can be daunting. But know that identifying Work About Work areas is half the battle won, and you will know exactly where to start and how to create more streamlined and agile processes within your organization.
Quick Tip: How to Avoid Work about Work?
One of the easiest ways to avoid getting the workforce of your organization into the work about work situations would be to ensure all your technology hardware is up to date. 7 out of 10 new clients we first meet are operating on outdated and unbelievably slow hardware.
Our Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Audit (CIA) reviews all areas of your business technology environment including hardware and software evaluation. Idealogical CIA report will give you a true picture of the state of your hardware and software stack.