Project Practitioners > For Time or Production?

For Time or Production?

By Chris Cook, PMP

READ TIME: 5 minutes


What are you paying for? Someone’s time or someone’s production.

Last week, I wrote an article about pretending to work is a classic game of cat and mouse.

This game occurs when people pay for your time. You have to spend 8 hours behind that desk in case something happens.

You get work done quickly? Cool. Sit there and wait for more work. No more work coming your way? Cool. Sit there.

Production comes with experience. You are paying someone to get a job done, not how long it takes them to complete.

You ever see a painter slap some paint around, and after ten minutes the image becomes clear? This person should not be penalized for the quickness in which the image appears. You are paying for the years and years of patience and hard work put into that ten minutes before your eyes.

The best example of time versus production is remote work.

How to implement remote work:



Define what is and is not ok. Again, getting away from the time value and adding to the production value of the person.

You can do whatever you want whenever you want as long as the proposal is turned in on time. If you are out and about, the worst question to ask is where are you going? That answer has no impact on the outcome. More than likely, it will improve the outcome.

Allow the team member to take a noon yoga class or meet some friends for lunch. That destressor brings the team member back to life and gives them the energy to put forth the extra effort.

Also, reigning the team member in can be necessary. Missing deadlines or not attending meetings is unacceptable. At the least, a person can call in from bed and listen. Completely abandoning tasks because you find the freedom more tempting causes the stigma behind remote work.


What can be done remotely?

Anything that can be done remotely should be done remotely. The employee may not choose to do so, but the offer should always stand.

Data entry is a classic example of something that can be done from an office building or the beach and anywhere in between. Again, who cares where as long as it is happening. Cell phones make access easier than ever. If you need to call potential clients and pitch them on your product, that can be done from a recliner as easy as it can be done with a watchful eye in a cubicle.

Some people do not want everyone hearing their business even if it is work related. The most annoying person in the office is someone who takes phone calls on speaker and leaves their door open for everyone to hear how busy they are. You are the fish in the microwave with that technique. The entire office can smell your distraction and need for attention.



With people not being physically at work, you are going to wonder what work is being done. Have a communication system in place where you know because a shared email account or make a quick phone call. Sometimes, no news is good news.

If the client does not make a peep about an individual’s work, then the plan must be working. Talking to tenants and emailing owners is a job done just as easily from home as it is at an office. Having a shared office number or email account makes it easy for a manager to check in on team members.

Emails are getting responded to because the inbox is zero and phone calls are being made because the call log is accessible by multiple parties. Reaching out is fine except when the sole purpose of the communication is to catch somebody in the act. We are all adults here. No one needs another parent.



Remote work allows for that production element to shine without the stress of having to be in one place for 40 hours a week because you are salaried. Some positions naturally keep people at the office longer. However, data entry and sales do not require such a destination.

As long as new clients are acquired and old ones are happy, the option of remote work should be paraded around the office. In time, you will find some people cannot work from home and production suffers. They slack off, miss meetings, and their inboxes start to grow. Others become more productive in their home.

Environment is so important to the production of a team member. Some need some plants to make them feel at home while others have nothing on their desks. Some want it dark in their office while others want to be on a rooftop patio somewhere.

Whatever the need is, the importance is on the production. Experience plays a role in the amount of time it takes someone to complete a task. I want to pay for their years of experience, not the time it takes to complete the task. I want to pay for that knowledge developed over time, not the physical presence of an individual.

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