4 Reasons to Manage Your Team’s Outcomes Not Their Hours

 Traditionally, part of a manager or leader’s role is managing their team’s hours.

Monitoring what time their team started work in the morning, how long they spent at breaks or lunch, and when they went home in the evening was part of the manager’s job.

Outcomes were managed too, of course, but the main focus was on hours spent at the desk. Even being away from your desk to talk to colleagues or visit the bathroom was viewed poorly.

Thankfully, those days are gone unless you work in a service industry such as hospitality, retail, or transport.

Outcomes, not hours, are the new approach to productivity. If the work is completed to the required standards, does it matter if each employee works precisely 8 hours per day?

With many people working remotely, the old way of measuring productivity by monitoring hours at a desk is less prevalent. A trust-based outcomes model is taking its place.

Here is why you should move to an outcome-based culture rather than counting work hours:

1. Monitoring hours doesn’t work

Just because a team member is sitting and looking at the screen, it doesn’t mean they’re working. They could be daydreaming, looking at their phone, or on a go slow.

Unless you are monitoring keystrokes, you have no idea what your team is doing. A team member who doesn’t want to work will avoid their work whether they are at their desk or not: This is a performance management issue, not a time-keeping issue.

If you have strict rules about the start, finish, and lunchtimes, all you will do is annoy your productive team members.

2. Measure what you want

Your team is tasked with outcomes therefore you should measure results.
Excellent team outcomes produced on time means your team is doing OK, and you don’t need to micromanage how they do it.

Ensure you are setting SMART goals with your team and monitoring progress regularly.

Great results mean kudos for you, so don’t mess it up by being so pedantic that your team gets annoyed and goes work somewhere else.

3. Some tasks are more equal than others

Some tasks are easier than others. If a piece of work is particularly intense and out-of-the-box thinking is required, it will take up more energy. Your team member will become tired quickly.

All work is not the same, and it’s challenging to sustain stressful work for long periods.

Don’t panic if your team member knocks off an hour early because they’ve worn themselves out getting a good result for the team. They’ll be back tomorrow refreshed and ready to do more excellent work.

4. Human beings, not human doings

We are all human, and some days we have a lot more energy than others.
When we have a cold, we can’t work continuously at such a high level of productivity as usual.

It’s far more sensible for your team member to go home to rest and recuperate and come back to work 100% the next day.

Other reasons why your team might not work at total capacity are stress, overwhelm, and personal issues. Make sure you know what is going on in your team’s lives by having regular one-to-ones.


Adopting an outcomes not hours approach doesn’t mean leaders or managers should allow their team to avoid their work responsibilities. But if you have a productive and energized team member who works hard and is keen to contribute, let them be.

As long as your team achieves their outcomes and manages their health, moods, fatigue, and work to your satisfaction, don’t micromanage them.

We are all adults.

Any bad apples in your team taking advantage of remote working or not producing outcomes should be dealt with separately.

Don’t penalize the majority of the team who work hard because of one slacker who cannot be trusted to do their work.

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