It’s time to play fact or fiction in the workplace! Except we’ve uncovered five myths that have been masked as facts for quite some time now. Whether you heard it from professors, parents or bosses the following tend to be the most common misguided concepts for surviving at work.
Long hours equal productivity and excellent work: Fortunately for some, long hours do not always equate to great work and results. What matters is the amount you are getting accomplished rather than the amount of time you spend doing something. According to writer Sam Ewing, “It’s not the hours you put in your work that counts, it’s the work you put in the hours.”
I once worked at an office where lower-level employees generally stayed until 5:30 or 6:00 p.m. However, the days when their boss was off, no one stayed past 4:30 p.m. because they knew their boss had no way of determining when they left the office. This brings up the question, how much work do these workers accomplish on any given day past 4:30? If they can leave early when the boss is absent, do they actually have enough to do past 4:30 when the boss is there? These workers (and, probably, the boss, too) felt that by staying later, they would impress everyone into thinking they were working longer hours and achieving more.
Instead of pairing longer work hours to hard work and results, make your work collaborative so your colleagues and co-workers know what you have on your plate. Communicate tasks, special projects and success instead of being sneaky and sitting around the office even when you have nothing to do. This way, if you finish your work early you can go home because your boss knows how much you accomplished and what you have on your plate for the next few days.
Only hard workers get promoted: While no sound person will ever discourage you from working hard, unfortunately, many times it takes more than that to rise above the ranks. Just like networking was key to get the job, networking within the company is important to get promoted. If you lack social skills but are the hardest worker, you may have a tough time obtaining those coveted managerial positions.
You must be able to multitask at work: According to an article by Tony Schwartz in the Harvard Business Review, multitasking is one of the least effective ways to accomplish quality work. Even with all the technology that makes it easy to do several things at once, there is nothing that keeps the brain from becoming confused and tuning one thought out when focusing on another at the same time. Smartphones may make it possible to check email while in a meeting, however, you will still tune out the speaker as you read the message on your phone.
You must be able to handle pressure and anxiety to succeed at work: While some people can thrive when facing tough deadlines and pressure at work, it is unrealistic to expect everyone else to do so. Excessive stress at work can take a toll on employee’s personal lives and effect their health. Employees that are too often stressed about waking up and going to work will quickly start to loathe their jobs. Providing an organized work environment and a manageable workload is often more important than expecting all employees to do well under pressure.
Email trumps traditional communication methods: While email is convenient, especially for employees and clients far away, nothing beats face-to-face interaction to build important relationships. Networking is important regardless of what stage you are in your career.
What are some other workplace myths you never want to hear again?