The banter to productivity ratio

The nay-sayers for WFO often quote that their productivity is lost when in the office because there are too many people chatting and too many distractions to address.

Apart from the question of why would you want to work like a machine for the sake of productivity, even companies with good HR policies don’t recommend that, let’s discuss if the meaningless banter impacts productivity.

As I too like many, am warming back to WFO – for an initial couple of days it felt like a get-together of sorts. All the faces you forgot that existed, to see them alive and healthy, to know they too remember you with the same emotion, to having to hammer your memory for their names especially if you are like me who is bad with names, and when they remember your name even after three years, then you need to battle the feeling of being the worst human being, then the chat about what went on in the past 2 to 3 years, in personal life, professional life, have you got promoted, moved across, which project went in and everything else that comes out of your mind in a surge of excitement, is it a banter worth letting impact the productivity?

Yes, a resounding YES.

And when you settle into a rhythm of those old pre-covid modes of working with the team in the office with the casual banters continuing, that is when I realised damn how much I had missed it.

It impacts productivity but not necessarily in a negative way. Why and how?

Humans aren’t machines that should work when the clock strikes eight and switches off at five. We are complex beings with emotion, creativity, focus, process-orientedness, and detail-orientedness all in a mix. This banter gives a quick break and refreshes our headspace from the monotony of meetings or coding or preparation of ppt. Not only it is about a break and refreshment but it’s also about problem-solving. The random colleague who passes by your desk might stop in to let out frustration about a problem he solved. Your teammate is stuck exactly with the same problem. The banter turns into a KT session. Compare it against the option of drafting a mail to that problem, sending it to a limited audience of your team, when the solution lies outside the team.

Especially for women who are limited to options for networking these office banters are a gift from heaven. The working women who want to grow can’t sacrifice this in the name of productivity. Networking and professional growth in a way factors into productivity.

Yes, all-day banter will kill productivity. If you want to work without distraction to complete a task, the banter will distract you, that’s why we have the headsets, don’t we? Else you can always say, “can we talk later, I’m busy now.,” no one is going to get offended.

Office banter is like salt. Add it at the right ratio, it enhances productivity to amazing levels.

Image : Pexels

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