Tuesday, April 7, 2009

An article worth forwarding... to your boss :-)

I should probably start by introducing this article instead of just copying and pasting all the time :-)

I worked as an employee for six or seven years and I was always one of those who preferred monitoring (if not restricting) "fun" sites at the workplace because they can become dangerous distractions. I used to hate MSN (which was the most popular at the time) because we would use it for work to communicate free of charge with colleagues at various offices in different countries. Naturally, this meant being "online" all day and of course, friends buzzing every two seconds. So some of the managers required specific work MSN accounts... This was a total waste of time of course because so many programs can accommodate several MSN accounts, and even several chatting softwares on one single platform.

Now, with the new mobile phones, nothing can be restricted obviously. If you can't access your Facebook on the company desktop/laptop, you can still be connected all day on your phone.

It is undeniable that when these networking platforms are addictive and when they become an addiction, they will affect work performance. There is no doubt that some people (consciously or not) look for distractions anywhere and everywhere just to do almost anything else but work. But it is also true that to the ethical worker, these platforms can be a breath of fresh air. Pretty much like those cigarettes breaks. Some employees abuse them since offices became smoke-free (another excuse to get out) and some can manage some self-control. At the end of the day it is impossible to keep everyone chained to their desks.

But if "fun" platforms and chat programs are allowed on company computers, maybe people will chain themselves! At least, they would be less inclined to "get out" since this breath of fresh air can be enjoyed even while working.

The Internet and these networking platforms are becoming (have become) inherent to our daily lives just like mobile phones. Who could ever imagine life without a mobile nowadays? So basically, companies should adapt the workplace to embrace these new technologies (after all, no company can restrict mobile phone usage and wouldn't think of it; some do have rules about usage during meetings, but that is the extent of it) and make these sites and programs tools to better productivity rather than turning them into enemies. Introducing company groups on Facebook, Twitter, chatting programs, etc. can be a good alternative and indirect mean to keep the usage of these platforms focused on work issues while helping in enhancing productivity and performance.

The Internet is already used for training purposes but integrating these educational needs within platforms and sites that are well-known and familiar to the employees can even be an incentive for continuous learning and seeking advice, tips, sharing ideas, brainstorming, etc.

The following article presents some interesting findings in that area.

Of course, there's always the "haters" :-) (see second article)

Twitter, Facebook Can Improve Work Productivity

Carrie-Ann Skinner, PC Advisor
Thursday, April 02, 2009 9:00 AM PDT

Using Twitter and Facebook at work will make you a better employee, says the University of Melbourne.
According to a study by the Australian University, 70 percent of office employees use the internet at work for personal reasons. Of them, nine percent were more productive compared to employees that didn't use the web for fun.
"Workplace internet leisure browsing (WILB) can help sharpen workers' concentration," said Brent Coker, from the University's department of management and marketing. "People need to zone out for a bit to get back their concentration."
Coker defined WLIB activities as browsing the web for information and reviews of products, reading online news sites, playing online games, keeping up-to-date with friends activities on social networking sites and watching videos on YouTube.
"Short and unobtrusive breaks, such as a quick surf of the internet, enables the mind to rest itself, leading to a higher total net concentration for a days' work, and as a result, increased productivity," he added.
"Firms spend millions on software to block their employees from watching videos, using social networking sites or shopping online under the pretence that it costs millions in lost productivity That's not always the case."
Cooker said the study reflected people who browsed the web of 20 percent or less of their working day.
"Those who behave with internet addiction tendencies will have a lower productivity than those without," he added.

Simon Cowell criticises fellow celebrities for Twitter obsession

Talent show producer Simon Cowell has hit out at the Twitter craze in which celebrities have been publishing updates about their day to day activities.

By Alastair Jamieson
Last Updated: 9:16AM BST 02 Apr 2009

The X Factor guru criticised friends who use the micro-blogging site where users constantly reveal tiny details of their lives.

Mr Cowell, 49, said told American television viewers: "Why would you want to talk to people like that? It's like phoning someone randomly whose number you don't even have and saying: 'Hi, it's Simon, I went out with my family this weekend'."

He is thought to have lost patience when American Idol co-host Ryan Seacrest used his Twitter page to describe Mr Cowell as looking old.

The criticism follows a survey which identified Russell Brand as the most self-obsessed British celebrity based on usage of Twitter.

Celebrity gossip website Holy Moly analysed stars' use of the site and accused them of using it purely to promote themselves.

It found that comedian Brand has 143,548 fans following his regular updates of his antics but is only interested in 14 fellow Twitterers enough to bother following their progress. One of those is Jonathan Ross while another is fellow comic David Baddiel.

The huge gulf between his followers and those he is following sees Brand tops Holy Moly's 'Celebrity Twitter Narcissism Rating' with a score of 99.9902 per cent.

Singer Lily Allen, 23, apparently has almost as big an ego as Brand with a rating of 99.9900 per cent, according to the research. The singer has 101,500 followers but is tracking just 10 people – including fellow pop star Britney Spears, model Alexa Chung and comic Alan Carr.

Third in the showbiz league of shame was outspoken DJ Chris Moyle, who has 106,013 followers but is following just 13 people. His rating is 99.9877 per cent.

Among British celebrities, Twitter addict Stephen Fry has the most followers, with 348,699. Fry, who recently gave fans a running commentary when stuck for an hour in a lift at London's Centre Point building, has somehow found time to track 55,251 fellow Twitterers.

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