Fears Of Workers Wasting Time Online Unfounded

from the trust-your-employees dept

Silicon.com often runs some interesting stories that they posted “five years ago”, and then catches you up with the situation today. They often do a pretty good job of putting things in perspective, and relating it to a situation today. The latest one is a good example. They point to a story from five years ago warning (oh no!) that employees were spending 25% of their online time on non-work related sites, which got people all worked up about how much productivity was being “wasted”. Of course, the study came from a company trying to sell internet monitoring software (think they’re biased? nah…). As the reporter points out, while some firms are still a bit worried about this (mostly because monitoring firms still keep coming out with these reports), most people have realized it’s no big deal. In fact, companies go through this worry with every new technology – the telephone, email, the web, and now instant messaging. In the end, companies finally realize that these new technologies are worth it. The “productivity loss” from doing non-work related activity is overhyped and misunderstood. Workers use these technologies to make themselves more productive, and if they goof off every once in a while, it’s often just to recharge their batteries so they’re more productive when they are working. Overall productivity goes up – and studies have shown that employees who do some non-work things at work, actually tend to get more work done (they don’t have to worry about making it to the store in time, and they can catch up on extra work at home as well). If an employee isn’t get his or her job done, that’s a different story. But, if they are doing their job – then who cares if they check out the sports scores? As for companies that still haven’t gotten the message, they say: “Shame on you – trust your workers and move into the 21st century.”

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