There Are Ways to Prevent Empty Labor
Swedish sociologist Roland Paulsen's dissertation Empty Labor – Subjectivity and idleness at work has attracted a lot of medial attention. In the dissertation, Paulsen studies how and why people do a lot of other things than work at work, which he calls empty labor.
Professor Merete Mazzarella's elaborates on Paulsen's findings in an essay in Svenska Dagbladet. There are plenty of examples of innovative and manipulating ways on how employees have manipulated their employers to think that they work when they don't. Although empty labor can easily be seen as a cheap and dishonest way to fool one's employer and colleagues, it also evokes interesting questions of meaningfulness at work and of societal questions of contemporary life at large.
Although some causes to empty labor are deeply rooted in our society and culture, imoveri would like to point at that there are actions that employers can undertake to prevent empty labor and thereby increase the meaningfulness at work.
- I know from experience that employees often do personal errands during work hours, may it be for example visits at the gym or the hairdresser. Employees can be absent more than ten percent of their work hours without feeling that it is immoral. One reason might be that the employer hasn't established a clear agreement of what is expected. To prevent empty labor, companies can first of all study what employees value when it comes to work hours and then decide and communicate what is the best model for the specific work place, which in turn leads to a more efficient, fair and meaningful workplace. Imoveri can help you to find the best solution for your company and how you can optimize your investments when it comes to influence over one's own time, says Rolf Berg, founding partner of imoveri.
The essay in Svenska Dagbladet's section Under strecket can be found here (in Swedish)