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Is the electronic age destroying business productivity?
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Is the electronic age destroying business productivity?
Intriguing article. I think there is substantial truth. We have crossed a line into decreased productivity.
https://www.chronicle.com/interactives/i...ors-stupid

"...We can actually quantify the background hum of busyness that Knuth so assiduously avoids. In 2014, the Boise State anthropologist John Ziker released the results of a faculty time-use study, which found that the average professor spent a little over 60 hours a week working, with 30 percent of that time dedicated to email and meetings....


In 2016 I published a book titled Deep Work (Grand Central). It argued that the knowledge economy is systematically undervaluing uninterrupted concentration and overvaluing the convenience and flexibility offered by new technologies. If you’re Google, for example, and you invest an extraordinary amount of money to hire elite programmers but then bombard them with email and meeting invitations, their cognitive capacity will be significantly impeded — thereby diminishing both the quality and quantity of the code they produce. From a bottom-line perspective, a company like Google is better off creating a Knuth-style work environment in which high-performers work for long stretches free from distractions — even if doing so makes other internal activities less convenient...."
02-14-2019 07:45 PM
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RE: Is the electronic age destroying business productivity?
Work is moving to open offices. People demand immediate action with their constant e-mails. The emphasis on teamwork means endless meetings. There is no administrative support so all but the top execs are doing more and more clerical tasks.

So people are involved in trivia and constantly distracted.
02-14-2019 07:47 PM
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JRsec Offline
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RE: Is the electronic age destroying business productivity?
(02-14-2019 07:47 PM)bullet Wrote:  Work is moving to open offices. People demand immediate action with their constant e-mails. The emphasis on teamwork means endless meetings. There is no administrative support so all but the top execs are doing more and more clerical tasks.

So people are involved in trivia and constantly distracted.
Yes, all of that and more. I witnessed it the last 5 years before I retired. Corporations are lousy with busy work at each administrative level requiring educated decision makers to essentially fill out endless on line reports for various higher up departments. That keeps them from having direct supervision of those under them who fill out reports to them. In the end the clients feel alienated, the week and then the month is consumed with video conferences with those at a higher position justifying their existence, the aforementioned reports, and online complaints which move to the front of the line because HQ has a record of them. The people waiting in the lobby meet only low level non decision makers and leave pissed off. And since many of these business are owned by conglomerates some of them aren't expected to make money and are used for political or other reasons and as a write off against those that do turn a profit.

In these businesses everyone's focus is up instead of out toward the consumer or client.

It's the first thing I noticed after leaving 20 years of non profit work. Prior to the non profit I had had 16 years of corporate sales all with 90% face to face time with customers and clients. In my early years the emphasis was on the bottom line and most sales reps were on commission only and the home office didn't look over your shoulder if you were successful and your clients and customers were happy. In fact the only time you were asked about your business practices were at the year end meeting when they wanted you to pass on your most successful strategies and techniques. It was fun and quite possible the most satisfying job I ever had. I retired when I realized that I had to call no joy in the modern technological workplace. I sat on my butt in front of a computer screen about 70% of the time for a company whose worst issue was customer relations. There was no esprit de corps because of HR practices, and precious little productive time because of active shooter drills (damned silly for this business), fire safety requirements, and CBE's which ate up about a day a month.

What had been a simple expense report for personal use of vehicles turned into a down to the 10th of a mile computer log which required a different page entry for every daily call. I just gave them that damn money rather than waste another day a month filling out the log. My simplog for the IRS still worked just as well and the write off was better than the company one. Too bad that's gone now.

Bullet the bottom line was that technology had become a new and more horrible bureaucracy than anything I had ever contended with. Employees 40 and younger had few interpersonal skills, loved the tech, and spent way too much time on Facebook, LinkedIn, and shopping online. If you called them on it another electronic report had to be generated. A verbal warning was forbidden. The trust level sucked, and the young folks loved to play deny responsibility and assign blame.

My first day on the job lasted 8 days until the IT people showed up to give me the access codes required for the position. To put it into perspective those were 8 of the most productive days I spent there. I think I landed them around 10 new local accounts in those 8 days. After those 8 days the damned computer logged most of my time and that's the way they wanted it. The 10 accounts wasn't proof enough for regional boss to prove I had worked. He wanted to be able to see my time online.

IMO they deserve to be bankrupt. I might have stayed and worked another few years but I could retire and I hated walking in the doors of a company that had no business being in business and I didn't want another position. I haven't regretted it at all. I'm much happier and save the family money now that I have time to manage a mother, a mother in law, our affairs, and kick in extra time for charity, and work with my hands around the home instead of always having call someone in to do crappier work for more money.

I look at the state of American business now, and at the work ethic within the current workforce and think if we are leading the world in trade then the end is indeed near! God help us! I finished out 40 years in which most weeks in Sales I averaged 60 to 70 hours, but had my weekends, then in the 20 years of non profit I easily worked 70 hours a week including weekends. For my last 4 years I worked around 45-50 hours a week, and hated every minute of it. I remained productive but felt every day that I had an electronic governor on me to slow down my productivity. Perhaps the worst feature of all was that the accounting was handled in three different locations and the data entry personnel were wage and hour. I bet I spent a quarter of my time there tracking down which accounting location entered data incorrectly.

Sorry but I forgot to mention that my Supervisor in the structure on two occasions told me to pace myself and said at times he thought I was trying to make him look bad. The thought never crossed my mind to want his stupid position. I was just watching the calendar and counting the days.
(This post was last modified: 02-14-2019 08:43 PM by JRsec.)
02-14-2019 08:29 PM
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BadgerMJ Offline
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RE: Is the electronic age destroying business productivity?
(02-14-2019 07:47 PM)bullet Wrote:  Work is moving to open offices. People demand immediate action with their constant e-mails. The emphasis on teamwork means endless meetings. There is no administrative support so all but the top execs are doing more and more clerical tasks.

So people are involved in trivia and constantly distracted.

Much of that is frankly our own fault. The word NO has made it's way out of the vocabulary. We're also our own worst enemy when it comes to making promises. A customer enters panic mode and has a "hot" order or needs to "expedite" and we think "servicing the customer" equals dropping everything and immediately going into "hair on fire" mode to get them what they need. What we've actually done is set the bar so that customer now EXPECTS that level every time they cry wolf.

“Poor planning on your part does not necessitate an emergency on mine.” No truer words yet we've decides to completely ignore them.

Teamwork.... Blame the damn Millennials. No one wants to do the work. No one wants to make decisions and/or accept responsibility. The beautiful thing about "teamwork" is that when "it" hits the fan the team can cover their collective asses by claiming it was someone elses fault. The finger can be pointed, excuses can be made, and no one is blamed.

The PERFECT example of this is ISO. Talk about a system that is entirely based on covering your backside and defusing blame. Have a problem and as long as you "followed the procedure", they can literally do nothing but write a "corrective action" that's then sent to a committee to determine if there's any changes needed to said procedure. After that determination is made, the committee needs to rewrite the procedure and submit it for approval to ensure it keeps with ISO guidelines. Once said procedure is approved, it needs to be notated and updated then sent to another committee so those involved can have a "training" to communicate the procedure update to those affected. Those affected then need to sign a form stating they were trained and were properly informed of said procedural change which is then copied and kept in the ISO manual and the employee file.

Oh, did I mention that in said reviewing committee, EVERYONE who is even slightly affected needs to be asked for their "input" on the situation.

Best part is that most average companies need to hire at least 1-2 people to keep track of all the damn paperwork generated by ISO. Hiring people that require salary and benefits that have ZERO value added to the process.

And one wonders why everything has turned into a cluster "F" time & money pit.....

[Image: daretoslackdemotivator.jpeg?v=1403275963]

Honestly though, is that any worse than the good old days when a decision being made meant having someone to throw under the bus if the plain went off the rail? Same old CYA, different paths.

At least the old way was quicker and easier.
(This post was last modified: 02-15-2019 09:48 AM by BadgerMJ.)
02-15-2019 09:40 AM
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RE: Is the electronic age destroying business productivity?
(02-15-2019 09:40 AM)BadgerMJ Wrote:  
(02-14-2019 07:47 PM)bullet Wrote:  Work is moving to open offices. People demand immediate action with their constant e-mails. The emphasis on teamwork means endless meetings. There is no administrative support so all but the top execs are doing more and more clerical tasks.

So people are involved in trivia and constantly distracted.

Much of that is frankly our own fault. The word NO has made it's way out of the vocabulary. We're also our own worst enemy when it comes to making promises. A customer enters panic mode and has a "hot" order or needs to "expedite" and we think "servicing the customer" equals dropping everything and immediately going into "hair on fire" mode to get them what they need. What we've actually done is set the bar so that customer now EXPECTS that level every time they cry wolf.

“Poor planning on your part does not necessitate an emergency on mine.” No truer words yet we've decides to completely ignore them.

Teamwork.... Blame the damn Millennials. No one wants to do the work. No one wants to make decisions and/or accept responsibility. The beautiful thing about "teamwork" is that when "it" hits the fan the team can cover their collective asses by claiming it was someone elses fault. The finger can be pointed, excuses can be made, and no one is blamed.

The PERFECT example of this is ISO. Talk about a system that is entirely based on covering your backside and defusing blame. Have a problem and as long as you "followed the procedure", they can literally do nothing but write a "corrective action" that's then sent to a committee to determine if there's any changes needed to said procedure. After that determination is made, the committee needs to rewrite the procedure and submit it for approval to ensure it keeps with ISO guidelines. Once said procedure is approved, it needs to be notated and updated then sent to another committee so those involved can have a "training" to communicate the procedure update to those affected. Those affected then need to sign a form stating they were trained and were properly informed of said procedural change which is then copied and kept in the ISO manual and the employee file.

Oh, did I mention that in said reviewing committee, EVERYONE who is even slightly affected needs to be asked for their "input" on the situation.

Best part is that most average companies need to hire at least 1-2 people to keep track of all the damn paperwork generated by ISO. Hiring people that require salary and benefits that have ZERO value added to the process.

And one wonders why everything has turned into a cluster "F" time & money pit.....

[Image: daretoslackdemotivator.jpeg?v=1403275963]

Honestly though, is that any worse than the good old days when a decision being made meant having someone to throw under the bus if the plain went off the rail? Same old CYA, different paths.

At least the old way was quicker and easier.

Well its always been refreshing when you have that rare person who steps up and takes responsibility.
02-16-2019 10:04 AM
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