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Worker Productivity vs. Facebook

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A survey of 4,000 office workers in India revealed something everybody already knew: employees spend about an hour a day on social networking websites like Facebook.

The story ad appeared on BBC News, which quoted the announcement:

“Close to 12.5% of productivity of human resource in corporate sector is misappropriated each day since a vast majority of them while away their time accessing social networking sites during the office hours,” according to the findings of Assocham’s Social Development Foundation survey.

The math in this claim seems a little obvious. One hour a day is probably measured against the normal eight hour work day, so the writers seem to assume that this time equates to a productivity loss of 1/8th (or 12.5%). But as we have already noted, taking breaks at work increases employee productivity. More importantly, we should recognize that work cannot be effectively measured by the passage of time. The Assocham study seems to assume otherwise.

employee productivity

© Flickr user jyri

A more revealing comment appears next:

“As a matter of fact, [the] growing use of browsing sites can be dangerous for overall productivity and IT companies have already installed software to restrict its use,” Assocham secretary general DS Rawat said.

Programs that restrict browsing habits are another example of treating employees like children. How can we expect employees to innovate and develop new ideas for the organization if our entire perspective is that bosses distrust workers which causes low employee satisfaction? If every minute spent on Facebook inescapably decreases overall productivity, than managers should consider using a stopwatch to time bathroom breaks. Actually, some already do this to measure workplace productivity.

The greatest irony of this study is that it attacks workers for using social networking sites. This isn’t a crackdown on long lunches or excessive smoking breaks, but rather a method employees use to fill emotional needs. As we covered earlier, these tools may provide more employee retention as stakeholders can find out about what employees actually want and need.

At AccelaWork, our commitment to productivity is not based on counting hours but instead on engaging and empowering individuals. If you want to increase effectiveness at your organization, contact us today!

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