“…basking on the shore cannot be considered an employment but only an apotheosis of loafing.”*

*from Expiation (1924), by E F Benson.

From Online Etymology Dictionary:

loafer (n.)“idler, person who loafs,” 1830, of uncertain origin, often regarded as a shortened variant of land loper (1795), a partial loan-translation of German Landläufer “vagabond,” from Land “land” + Läufer “runner,” from laufen “to run” (see leap(v.)). But OED finds this connection “not very probable.” As a type of shoe for informal occasions, 1937. Related: Loafers. By coincidence Old English had hlafaeta “household servant,” literally “loaf-eater;” one who eats the bread of his master, suggesting the Anglo-Saxons might have still felt the etymological sense of lord as “loaf-guard.”

loaf (v.)

1835, American English, apparently a back-formation from the earlier-attested loafer (1830). Related: Loafed; loafing. The noun meaning “an act of loafing” is attested from 1855.

The term “loafing” is, of course, very vague. Its meaning, like that of its opposite, “work,” depends largely on the user. The highly successful quarterback with an E in Greek is a loafer in his professor’s eyes, while the idea of the professor’s working, in spite of his voluminous researches on Mycenean Table Manners, would excite hoots of derision from the laborer that lays the drains before his study window. [Yale Literary Magazine, May 1908]

From: corporatefinanceinstitute.com:

“Upton Sinclair coined the phrase “white-collar worker” to refer to workers who performed administrative and clerical roles. These workers wore white-collared shirts that distinguished them from the blue-collar workers who performed manual tasks in the workplace.

Management writers such as Fritz Machlup and Peter Drucker first came up with the term “knowledge workers” in the late 1950s and early 1960s. During that time, the number of information workers began to outnumber the number of workers engaged in manual jobs.”

Julia Martins wrote at asana.com on April 16th, 2021:

“Max Ringelmann first described the social loafing phenomenon in 1913. A French agricultural engineer by trade, Ringelmann discovered social loafing by asking a number of people to tug on a rope. He measured that individuals put more effort when they tugged individually than when they pulled as a group. What was first dubbed the Ringelmann effect was later renamed social loafing.

Teamwork and group work aren’t the cause of reduced individual contributions. The real culprit? Lack of clarity. When knowledge workers don’t have clarity into what they are working on or how that work is impacting their company, they can’t effectively prioritize or execute on high-impact work. This is a huge contributor to burnout, which 71% of global knowledge workers reported experiencing at least once in 2020. Of those knowledge workers, one in three reported feeling burnt out and overworked from a lack of clarity on tasks and roles.

To help your team get their best work done, focus on increasing clarity instead of reducing social loafing. Support your team members by providing clarity into processes, aligning around the same priorities, and centralizing work in one tool. That way, you can ensure your team has everything they need to succeed and move in the same direction, together.”

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