Professionals across Asia have been allocating a greater portion of their time to feigning busyness rather than engaging in genuinely productive tasks. Among these respondents, individuals in India stood out, with 43 per cent of them acknowledging that they devote the majority of their time to what can be termed as "performative work."
Utilising data gathered from over 18,000 desk workers, including executives, the research conducted by Qualtrics in collaboration with Slack, a subsidiary of Salesforce, brought forth its findings.
Elaborating on the concept of performative work, Derek Laney, the "technology evangelist" for the Asia-Pacific region at Slack, explained to CNBC Make It that this entails dedicating significant time to meetings focused on showcasing team accomplishments, rather than engaging in decision-making or problem-solving.
In the study encompassing nine assessed countries, India secured the top spot with a rate of 43 per cent, as reported by the publication. Following closely were Japan and Singapore, with figures of 37 per cent and 36 per cent, respectively.
At the other end of the spectrum, both South Korea and the US found themselves tied for the lowest ranking, as workers from these nations indicated spending a mere 28 per cent of their time in the guise of busyness.
Expanding on the methods employed by employees to demonstrate their busyness during work, the report revealed that 63 per cent of the respondents made a deliberate attempt to maintain an active online status, even when they weren't actively working.
Additionally, 53 per cent expressed the sense of obligation to respond promptly to messages, even if received outside of regular working hours. Furthermore, 50 per cent noted that they felt compelled to inform their coworkers of their presence at work and their engagement in productive activities.
Additionally, the report highlighted that on a global scale, the primary method (27 per cent) through which leaders gauge productivity is by considering the amount of time spent online or the volume of emails dispatched.
Consequently, employees' inclination to emphasise the appearance of busyness is quite possibly influenced by this metric. Such pressure might lead them to extend their work hours, promptly attend to emails, or participate in all meetings.
“Leaders are most likely to judge productivity based on visible activity instead of focusing on achieving outcomes,” Laney said. “This disconnect leads to wasted effort where employees try to show up well in front of their leaders.”