Is your team engaging in productivity theatre?

Written by Jeremy Campbell Monday 21 August 2023
From late night emails to fake calendar appointments: discover the warning signs and what to do about it
A group of actors in a theatre take a final bow to the audience

The latest trend to hit the hybrid working world has been dubbed “productivity theatre”.

Including workarounds intended to dupe activity-monitoring technology, it covers a range of tricks to make it look like you’re busy when you’re not.

In a way, the human behaviour behind productivity theatre is nothing new. Many people may remember the days when a colleague would leave a jacket over their chair to suggest they were still in the office while they lingered at a lengthy lunch. The post-pandemic equivalent, with so many hybrid workers being out of sight, includes faking activity to fool digital surveillance; sending a flurry of emails during out-of-office hours to suggest commitment above and beyond; or filling the digital diary with appointments that don’t exist.

But productivity theatre is a symptom. It’s not the problem

Keep reading to learn how to spot productivity theatre – and how to prevent it


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