I’ve talked about the downside of using “busy” as your answer to “how are you?”. The vague answer implies that whatever you are doing is more important than the person who is engaging you.  And it has become a badge of honor to “be busy”. In reality, we are creating a stronger sense of time poverty that only propels us to high stress levels and burnout, which are also at all-time highs.

A recent HBR article brings this back to the surface, and perhaps a better conversation within your organization about the culture we have created (and can now uncreate) about “busy”. The easiest part of this shift is to watch what you are rewarding – are you measuring activity or achievement? In other words, are you “making sure people are working” versus “acknowledging completion/progress”? Reflect on the amount of energy (conversations) you have had in the last 12-18 months about productivity with remote workers. Have you been pressing on achievement or hours worked? That is a big step toward reducing stress in your organization. One more simple one to help with this shift – how do you talk about time off? Are the conversations about the rush to get there and the “digging out” when you get back? Or are you talking about the restoration, joy, and play of the break?

Check out the article for a much deeper dive into this topic, a worthwhile 10-minute read.