Friday, December 22, 2006

Chat messengers reduce productivity at work

The world is divided into two types of people. One – the hardworking. Two – the hardly working. There is a third category too - people who have enjoyed privileged memberships with both the types. This blog, is about them.

My estimates from reliable sources reveal that the world’s productivity would increase by atleast 12% if Gmail Chat, Google Talk, Yahoo Messenger and MSN Messenger would be banned from office computers. They’re a great way of you sitting on your computer terminal, yet pretending to work. But actually you’re chatting and spending time over casual conversation, (aren't you?) mostly answering rhetorics like ‘Wassup’ and ‘Hows life?’. Questions like these would be better off asked in person face-to-face. You could have Karan Thapar for company and I’d just love to see your face shrivel into a nut as he would sneer at you from behind those glasses. Even for the above questions. [Let me put it to to you this way, Mr.Chaudhuri – You are dating someone. I have the facts with me. The Sunday Times paparazzi spotted you making out with…]

Let’s give Karan some rest for the moment and make-out (not the one you're thinking) how the Third Type of people are a nuisance in your office. While assigned work often goes for a toss, I’ve often seen colleagues having casual chat, pretending to take a break that lasts for hours. Surfing Orkut should be allowed only for specific hours in a day, when the ISP can unblock it. The social networking craze is good way to stay in touch, mind you. And nevertheless, an innovative way to make contacts too.

I believe, a Happy Surfing Hour segment offices would be a constructive idea. All censored sites could be unblocked and staff members can surf and chill-out during that time. It’s better to allow staff to communicate through voice-based conversations, rather than to chat using text. A chat online for one hour mite yield the same results as a phone call for 3 mins. Therefore, rather than keeping the mind engaged to window conversations, emoticons, smileys and short-hand, its appropriate to have a heart-to-heart, however personal on the phone. Remember, productivity is at stake, here!

More so, in media houses, where work largely depends on deadlines. And sticking to deadlines is the topmost priority, no matter what the excuses might be. I think, it is because of these chat windows, that media people end up working long hours at office. It sounds sensible to avoid casual chatting in office environs and finish up with assignments at the earliest.

Recently, a senior at office, logging in from abroad into Google Talk, was shocked to find his subordinate, 'Available' on the same messenger. That too, with the music on! (So much for status messages!) It was the same colleague to whom he had assigned major responsibilities (lucky him), but the fellow was consistently being humbled by the deadline. Productivity of course, got a beating. But what was affected even more was his reputation for avoiding work and chilling during office hours on chat windows.

The senior did not make a big issue out of it, though. He calmly handed over the guy’s responsibilities to me (lucky me) and avoided delegating any major work to him. Perhaps he did not realise this change or maybe perhaps he did. But for the moment though, he’s happy to work-chat-work-chat-chat during office hours.

Some people just don’t get the point, do they?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Actually, you are an idiot. There are 4 types of people. Those you mentioned, and then there are creative people that can multi-task and actually benefit from simultaneous stimuli that allows focus on creative work. There are studies that show the direct opposite of what you mentioned. There are of course lazy people who just aren't suited for the job. That is a given. It is the responsibility of management to weed those people out and fire them or get them in line. However, you can also be on top of everything and still maintain your link to the world. When you work with chat on and can balance your immediate work with the outside world, it allows for a collaborative atmosphere; you don't feel locked away from your "other life." This is especially crucial for media houses like you mentioned. Creativity and motivation is stifled in many people by being holed up and unable to gain inspiration from those around them, or by interesting things they come across in a day.

Personally, when I read of the benefits of contact with friends at work I immediately thought of my life in HS. I was an early web adopter. I have been on the internet since 1992-3 and I was very active in media sites, and the E/N site community which has now been replaced by "blogs." The amount of creative output and work that I did in those days is far greater than what I am capable of now in terms of productivity. I attribute much of this to the people I surrounded myself with online. Other artists, designers, and programmers that always had something to stimulate my thinking and give me a boost to work on what I had at hand.

I believe that for those types of non-ADD people that would describe "themselves" as uncreative - we know everyone has creativity, just not channeled- are those that get caught up in unproductive behavior. Those that are truly multitaskers and creative people THRIVE in those enviornments. Work is only "work" if you make it that way. you can be just as productive and have fun too. Physical labor is the exception.