Can You Measure A Team Member’s Productivity By The Temperature Of Their Seat?

An office chair with a giant thermometer in the seat

There’s an irrational and harmful idea that’s been floating around in the business world for a while.
Ok, fair enough, there are a lot of irrational and harmful ideas that have been floating around in the business world for a while.
And also, yes, fair, the idea I’m about to point out is not even one of the worst ones.
But it’s just so damned annoying and mystifying.
The idea is this: You can measure a team member’s productivity by the temperature of their seat.
If you see your team member at their desk, looking at a screen with some worky lookin’ stuff on it (like a spreadsheet or a code editor) then they must be being productive.
The other part of this idea is that if you can’t see your team member looking at a screen with code or TPS reports or whatever the hell it is they’re supposed to be looking at, then there is absolutely no way you can tell if they’re goofing off or not.
Forget everything you’ve “learned” in the business world and just give this idea the smell test…
Smells fishy right?
Measuring productivity is not straightforward. There are whole libraries on this topic. Do you think any of them are interested in seat-butt warmth?
Then why should you be?

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