Big Data and The Ever Changing Workplace
Now, I know that not all of our readers will be working out of an office or stuck in a chair in front of computers all day, but surely some of you are. Some of you might even be managers or company presidents tasked with keeping your work force focused and on task. These days distractions are only a click away and the workplace is losing time on tasks that are designed to take less time. Tools have come to the forefront in every industry to keep an eye on employee’s digital time spent, help them focus, and to cheer them on when they succeed. In a new age where employees regularly report that they work more than fifty hours a week, where does the line get drawn between the hour quantity of work done and the efficiency of the workers? Where does a manager decide that time spent on ESPN or Facebook is more than a little mental break and closer to a waste of time? Studies have shown that small breaks during work actually make an employee more productive, but there is a thin line between breaks that actually help the mental process and procrastination that is a death sentence to the productivity of the company.
This is where Big Data comes in. Increasingly tools are emerging to give bosses the ability to sift through the productivity of the employees. The problem is that some companies have a hard time drawing the line between eliminating laziness and micromanaging the workplace. The New York times recently issued an article about the problems that employees have reported with systems like this, with one employee going so far as to say that she felt like “it was akin to wearing a felon’s ankle bracelet.”
Tech Companies are beginning to innovate ways to change this feeling, that the work force management software feels less like Big Brother and more like Facebook. One particular tech start up is BetterWorks, founded in Silicon-Valley in 2013. It’s CEO and founder Kris Duggan muses about what his ideal future workplace would look like. “You will always know what you are doing and how fast you are doing it. He wants to eliminate situations where employees are “supposed to guess what’s important.” His biggest problem with the way that work force management software works is that despite being monitored, and working the way he’s supposed to, is that “at the end of the day I don’t know if I delivered anything meaningful.”
So my question to you is, how do you as business owners manage time spent by your employees? Or if you are an employee do you think that the method your boss uses works?