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Productivity and Corporate Culture

Have you see this one that’s been all over the news (This one from BBC)?
Facebook ‘costs businesses dear’
For some employees Facebook is part of their working day
Workers who spend time on sites such as Facebook could be costing firms over £130m a day, a study has calculated. According to employment law firm Peninsula, 233 million hours are lost every month as a result of employees “wasting time” on social networking.
The study – based on a survey of 3,500 UK companies – concluded that businesses need to take firm action on the use of social networks at work. Some firms have already banned employees from accessing Facebook.”
I wish I had the time ot find the old shallow research about how much the following cost business . . .
The telephone (even when I started my first library job only senior staff were allowed a personal phone on their desk. It was a productivity issue they claimed. Sooooo, every day all the mothers would head to the lobby for long waits on the phone to all their kids at home to make sure they were safe. Nice touch – isoloate your staff from their families, that’ll improve productivity).
E-mail. (This one was excessive where IT departments would go around and remove CC:mail at the time from desktop PC’s or leave people with internal only Pine clients, etc. on dumb terminals. Communication is bad for business so staff would just line up at other PC’s to do their work.)
IM. (This one contines. I hear about IM viruses being the reason along with productivity. Apparently collaboration among employees is bad for productivity! Why align your IT with the tech proficiencies of your staff?)
The Web. (OMG – people are surfing so let’s ban it. We better not know what’s goiung on out there. I remember an era where some libraries were blocked from the web and had to search on home PCs’ etc. I worked one place where there were efforts to ban the web from web publisher staff (Can’t you do this offline?). Amazingly stupid.)
Don’t even ask if businesses are better or worse if eery employee can’t interasct with customers in their mode of choice! The choice being made is clear and the damagew to that organization’s image subtle and huge.
I am sure you can think of lots of other examples.
It seems like these studies happen with every new technology and application. People who don’t really understand or are uncomfortable withh the fact that businesses are social organizations and from that derive their strength. Trying to limit socialness in society is like trying to hold water in your hands. It’s just anti-team work and sharing.
There seems to be a big corporate culture thing that somehow control.and isolate employees is good for business. It’s more important that managers manage their staff well instead of depending on draconian technological measures. I think the opposite.

Posted on: September 12, 2007, 10:09 am Category: Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. Hard to say where the research is coming from, but good economist knows that effort (ie putting in more “work” hours because of fewer distractions) is only one way to improve productivity.
    Others include: 1) capital (better machines) 2) skill development (people do more in less time) and 3) innovation (people invent new ways of doing the old things).
    A recent study in Canada (that I don’t have cite right now but may blog on later) suggested that Canada’s lack of productivity is largely related to #3. Right — not employee loafing, but lack of innovation.
    In short, it’s lack of imagination and inspiration in management that leads to low productivity, not Facebook. To be blunt, business leaders are the loafers, not their staff.

  2. I agree… I often feel we Millennials in particular get accused of slacking too much because we’re big Web 2.0 users. Luckily, my library does a lot of Web 2.0 stuff, so I don’t have to justify my Facebooking to my boss. And we do IM reference, which is great!