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Tracking Employee Hours and Dealing With Slackers

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Corporate productivity in many organizations is based on time tracking. A new infographic about corporate productivity and “slacking” is generating some serious controversy.

The image, which claims that people spend about an hour a day “slacking” instead of contributing to corporate productivity, is featured below. You can also see it on the website of the software company that commissioned the graphic.

workplace slackers and productivity

It’s hard to know where to begin. The creators of the image have written a follow-up post, so they are certainly aware of the negative reaction. Let’s hit the highlights:
Yes, we all want increased corporate productivity. But when the primary yardstick is “average working slacking”, the most likely impact is a decline in employee morale. Using a term like “slack” isn’t exactly going to increase employee satisfaction!
We know that measuring worker productivity often backfires.  That’s because the relationship between overall corporate productivity and micromanagement is like fire and water. The best way to ensure that people don’t get things done is to obsessively measure their progress.
Working Hours
This may be the oldest myth in business: that people who are at their desk are working. Of course, employee start times have nothing to do with corporate productivity.

We’d be remiss to not show you how they addressed some of the backlash, so here are a couple excerpts from the post they wrote.

First, let me point out, that our infographic is biased, and based on the average company, where facebook and twitter use isn’t considered pertinent for everyone. You should look at the infographic keeping in mind differences in job descriptions and firm core functions, because it’ll be different for everyone.

We’re not saying that facebook and twitter are unproductive. For example, the person responsible for the upkeep of social media for a company is able to set their productivity setting for those specific applications as “productive”. This is obviously considered productive time for them. Nothing’s set in stone, and there is room for adjustment to individual needs.

It should be understood that this tool is mostly relevant for companies and people whose job is centered around computer work. That way it’ll give you the most accurate response. Of course, if you have meetings you can add them to your productive time, and for those who say that socializing with co-workers is the best way to learn, then add that too! It’ll go straight to productive time.

It also shouldn’t be forgotten that you can always switch on private time. No one’ forcing you to be productive all of the time. Your HR will of course understand taking a 20 minute break to check up on the latest web videos or tweets.

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© Flickr user Tim Patterson

Broadly speaking,  tracking employee productivity and time at work is more often the problem than it is the solution. Software tools that record workplace productivity and what people are doing are easily turned by the kinds of businesses that ban sitting and walking too slowly. In every situation, we need to find ways to show employees that what’s most important is the overall corporate productivity generated in what they accomplish, not how they spend their time.

If you want to buy software like Desktime to improve your own productivity, go for it! But if you want to try to force your employees to be more productive, consider focusing on process and results rather than facetime and minutes. That’s the real benefit to customers and to workers alike.

Need help figuring out how to bring these principles to your organization? For more information on how to actually increase employee productivity, contact the business improvement team at AccelaWork today!

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