Definition: Metawork

Urban Dictionary offers the following definition for the word ‘metawork’:

Trivial or unnecessary work done to avoid having to perform the real task at hand while simultaneously taking the credit for it.

In the business world, metawork often manifests itself in the form of meetings, mission statements, project planning, or anything else that lets a person become part of the team without actually doing something productive.

I use metawork in a similar sense to refer to work which, though necessary, does not directly result in progress toward project goals. Meetings, project charters, evaluations and timecards all fall into the category of metawork.

Most middle management spends the bulk of their time doing metawork. Ideally this minimizes the amount of metawork their employees must do maximizing the amount of time employees can spend on actual work.

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