Thursday, October 05, 2006

Big Brother is Watching You

United States Dept of the Interior report states employees spend thousands of hours a week at various recreational sites. Now I think that porn and gambling are anathema in the workplace, but for reasons of viruses, worms, bandwidth hogging and sexual harassment, but only 4700 of the million plus suspect log entries were for those purposes. The thousands of hours/week and million plus logs also covered 7700 employees. This likely constitutes less time than is spent in the lavatories and is hardly a danger to "productivity."

It just sounds bad. That's it, though. It is measureable, people can see facts, and no one thinks spending time gambling at work is really ethical...at least in principle. The real fact is that productivity and time wasting are often very difficult to measure. If you have a union or government job, then that job often has a very detailed description, and many times you are not even allowed to do "work" that is not part of that description. This means that if an efficient employee finishes all of their work for the day by 10:00 a.m. then they cannot do any more work that day. They also can't go home. This is true to varying degrees in varying jobs. There are limits to what can be accomplished in a day, both for time constraints and for "availibility" reasons. We tend to frown more upon people who leave work early, even though those people may be going to accomplish something meaningful elsewhere, than we do upon those who "burn the candle at both ends" even if they really are not actually doing more work.

I am really back and forth on whether companies should monitor thier employees' internet usage. I don't like the idea for the reasons above, but it really can be a time sink. Of course multi-tasking means that it would be difficult to prove in either case. Personal freedoms may be one reason that I am interested in academics. It is not that they don't demand productivity/results, because they do, but they don't so much look over your shoulder 24-7...well at least not after you get tenure.

1 comment:

ChiefMommy Owl said...

I am always on the lookout for a way that I can get paid to play neopets. Maybe a government job is the answer.

Thanks for stopping by. You look terribly familiar to me.

Sara :)