It’s very hard for a company leader to sit in an office bullpen when there isn’t a bullpen anymore. Or an office.
Before COVID, the Hawthorne Effect led to increased productivity for many companies. Now, however, the shift to a remote workforce somewhat destroys that benefit. It also leaves many leaders fearful that their employees won’t be working as hard without them there to intimidate work alongside the team.
After all, we need to remember that the average person is only productive for 2 hours and 53 minutes per day.
Accountability and productivity couldn’t be more important than in a distributed workforce. Naturally, with the remoteness of our work, we are experiencing the emergence of more resources claiming to boost accountability and productivity.
In fact, accountability and productivity apps are more popular today than ever before.
There are goal-driven accountability apps like GoalsWon, Loop, and UltiSelf.
There are time management productivity apps like Pomodoro, Toggl, and Forest
There are personal well-being apps like Insight Timer, MyFitness Pal, and Bloom.
But as good as all of these may be, they are all missing one critical ingredient: the Hawthorne Effect.
In 2017, this dude Taylor Jacobson started a company called Focusmate. The concept is simple:
- You choose a time to work (25, 50 or 75-minute sessions)
- Focusmate pairs you with an accountability partner
- You both do your work live in a virtual co-working session
Taylor clearly understood the basic premise handed down by Henry Landsberger:
People will be more productive when they feel they are being watched.
I’ve been using Focusmate multiple times per day since January 2023 and have never in my life been as productive as this year so far. In fact, I’m using Focusmate right now to hold myself accountable in writing this article. Here, let me take a screenshot:
I’m not saying this to pitch Focusmate in any way. Heck, I don’t care if you use it or not. What I do care about is that you pay attention to not just WHEN you are most productive, but WHY.
Because imagine your feeling at the end of every day if you achieved your goals faster. If your 2 hours and 53 minutes of productivity actually turned into 5 hours.
Imagine how happy you’d be to live your dreams.
That, my friends, is the impact Henry Landsberger had on the world. Not bad for a kid who was pretty damn close to having all his dreams destroyed.