Companies may think that setting goals and offering performance bonuses to employees will help motivate them, but those strategies add to a trend that’s making workers increasingly unhappy.A recent paper from Jeffrey Pfeffer at Stanford and Sanford DeVoe of the University of Toronto argues that these practices promote an “economic view of time” — the idea that time is scarce and should be thought of in monetary terms.
That makes us less able to enjoy time off because we always think of it as losing money.
The modern employment relationship generally increases the connection between time and money with important implications for people’s choices about how to use their time, including how much to work and how much to volunteer their time in unpaid activities. Although it may not have been consciously done, modern management seems to have created a hedonic treadmill in which people want to trade time for money and because of thinking of time like money cannot enjoy leisure activities as much.
Society reinforces this:
…the social status of leisure versus work has changed over time so that working is now a status symbol, signaling people’s importance to their organisations—a change that itself may derive in part from how we view time.
Basically, when we think of time as a resource and connect that to money, we’re more likely to constantly feel stress, even when we’re not on a deadline or under pressure.
Stress levels are high relative to historic levels despite the fact that we’re not really working more.
On an organizational level, the authors suggest that companies be aware of how deadlines affect the psychological well-being of their employees, and think about how the language they use and the things they measure might be creating a permanent sense of stress.
Read the full paper here
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