I've been labeled as slow on a number of occasions on the job. It can be frustrating because I try to work methodically and efficiently. At times I don't look like I'm moving as fast as my superiors think I should be moving. It actually ended up being an issue at two places I worked in the past. The frustrating part in both instances was that over the course of the day I produced more work than all my counterparts. They just looked like they were working faster.
Yes maybe it is possible for me to turn up the speed but can I keep that up all day safely. Most of the time the answer is no. For me to improve my work speed I try to improve my methodology. I try not only keep my tools handy but I try to place them in exactly the same position every time I put them down. I try to pick them and my work up with the same motion every time. I find it pays off in greater productivity. If I'm in an assembly line, I try to match speed with the line (it's pointless to bury the next guy on the line).
For someone who is at times considered slow, I've had some very gratifying moments. In a wood shop where I worked, I was assigned to trim desk tops on a machine called a rover. All I did was load the machine, initiate the operation and then unload the finished piece. After a few hours the supervisor came back to check my progress. He checked the computer, counted the pieces, gave his head a shake and then rechecked everything. Turns out I was in the process of destroying the company productivity record for that particular operation. He had trouble reconciling my perceived work speed with the numbers the computer was giving him. I worked for that company for about seven months breaking similar records on a number of other machines in the shop. I set production records with one of the companies where my work ethic was being questioned. It wasn't a one time thing either. That was my normal work speed.
This bit of a rant isn't brought on by anything that is happening on my current job. Just crossed my mind this evening.