Are You a Slacker?

Category: Cool-Stuff

I just got a press release, pitching a product that's supposed to help managers identify employees who are wasting time online during work hours. The pitch says this: Contrary to popular belief, employees whom management considers the top employees are indeed many times the ones who waste the most time on their computers and online. My immediate thought was that they're looking at this COMPLETELY backwards...

wasting time at work

New Monitoring Software Identifies and Punishes Top Employees!

Consider this scenario at a corporate board meeting... "Hmmm, our top employees, the cream of the crop, the best performers, they all have one thing in common... they spend MORE time online than their peers. Let's punish them, so their productivity will drop to the level of their underperforming peers."

Any company that takes action to identify their top performers, and then fails to reward them, will see those people move on to other jobs with other companies. But any company that takes aggressive action to PUNISH their best employees needs to do some serious rethinking.

There's a reason that certain employees are considered the tops... they get the job done... they outperform their peers. If they can do that, and still spend a bit of time online, good for them! And if their underperforming peers are not "wasting time" on the computer, but are STILL not matching the performance of their peers who are... well then fire the slackers!

According to recent studies, the press release stated, "More than 81 minutes of work time per employee is wasted doing non-work related computer activity." Is anyone shocked by this? I think not. People are checking their mail, paying a few bills, catching up on news, or doing a little online shopping. In the days before computers, employees did pretty much the same thing, but without computers. I believe any business that allows employees to take care of some of the stress of daily life during work hours will see a happier, healthier and ultimately more productive workforce.

When I worked at IBM over ten years ago, programmers had full access to the Internet. Sometimes I spent hours online, exploring new fields of interest, learning things to help me do my job better, or discovering tools to help my peers be more productive. Before we had convenient access to the Internet at work, I and many others spent hours and hours writing software that would boost productivity for myself and others. IBM allowed us to share these tools on a corporate network where they helped thousands of other employees.

This wasn't part of my job, it was extra stuff that I did. If my manager knew about it, he might have seen it as "wasting time." But my peers could see the value in that extra-curricular activity. We all knew the ones who just "did their job" and the ones who did a little extra. If our managers had "workplace activity management" software like this press release was touting, I'm certain that productivity would have gone down, and some of the best employees would have run for the doors.

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Most recent comments on "Are You a Slacker?"

Posted by:

13 Jun 2007

When I worked as a senior accountant (not the brightest) I was astonished that the most productive people wasted a lot of their time talking to others and wasted their time as well, however their own productivity was so high that it made up for more than the wasted time of all those involved.

We each work at our own capacity and brain work is not time dependant.

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