Overhype

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
angry birds, productivity



No, Angry Birds Is Not Costing $1.5 Billion In Lost Productivity

from the can-we-get-the-mighty-eagle-to-smash-this-ridiculousness? dept

Every so often we hear various stories about how this or that online "thing" is "costing $x billions in lost productivity." For years it was "personal surfing" at work was costing billions. Then things like March Madness. Or even just "keeping up with the data stream." The latest killer of productivity? You guessed it. It's Angry Birds. Prisoner 201 sent in the news that people are now calculating the lost productivity from Angry Birds. Of course, in the past, most of these stories tended to come from companies (conveniently) selling filtering software. This time it just seems like some reporters looking for a story.

But, of course, this is ridiculous. While I have no doubt that there are some people who get sucked into playing Angry Birds and don't get their work done, that's an issue for that employer and that employee. It's not Angry Birds causing the lack of productivity. It's the employee. The bigger issue, of course, is the basic assumption here that hours equals productivity. If so, you could equally argue that commuting and sleeping are massive killers of productivity, because that's also time that is spent not working. While it does depend on the type of job, many jobs do not involve a constant level of productivity. In fact, many jobs have ebbs and flows of productivity, and that's a good thing. Letting someone play Angry Birds to clear their mind for a bit could, conceivably be good for productivity. What if they're struggling with a hard problem and working on it just isn't getting anything done... but taking a break and starting again clears things up?

Considering that other studies have shown that trusting your employees to do their jobs creates happier, more loyal and more productive workforces, perhaps we shouldn't be so worried about people playing Angry Birds, rather than going out for a smoke or hanging out at the water cooler. If they get their job done, they're productive.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Sep 2011 @ 9:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Igor, throw the lever!

    There's no such thing as "bottom line productivity." Productivity is output over time. Everyone, even salaried employees, are expected to account for their time, and it's on that basis that productivty can be measured. If you need two hours of zero productivity to give me 6 hours of "max" productivity that's fine -- but I'm not going to pay for the wasted time.

    which is it going to be?

    Depends on who's net is more valuable. If the first guy is excessively more expensive than his counterpart he's more of a liability than an asset, despite his burst-rate productivity.

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