Workplace support

What defines a productive member of a work group? I was reading a personal account recently about a woman who’s supervisor was very supportive of her role as a new mother because he knew that she would be a more productive if she knew her baby was well cared for. While this makes a lot of sense, it got me thinking about the opposite of this situation…What if he wasn’t supportive – how would that have changed her behavior with regard to her work responsibilities?

I started out this post with an example of motherhood, but this could apply to many things in life – family, extracurricular roles, or further education. For example – if a member of a work group is also interested in educating others, some employers allow flexibility to accommodate teaching the course.

Personally, when an employer allows me the flexibility to move things around when I need to take care of something in my personal life, it goes a long way in my attitude toward work. I am willing to stay those extra minutes or hours to finish something up when nothing pressing is tearing me away. The opposite of that might be that when an employee feels taken advantage of, they actively find ways to be at work, but maybe distractedly, or taking off when the clock strikes quittin’ time, even when they know that picking up that particular task the next day will mean extra time invested to get back on track. This could create a lot of tension between employees and employers when they notice a particular behavior in another – like two forces working in opposition on a rubber band.

So, back to the question – what defines a productive member of a work group? It can’t just be the number of hours, because there is a quality difference in how people spend their time at work. And, other countries have very different maternity leave policies  – allowing mothers months of sometimes paid maternity/paternity leave. Not everyone in the workplace uses this time because not everyone has children. But, I bet that some of those parents are considered to be very productive members of the work group.
What are some contrasts that you notice in your workplace about productivity?
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