Modern technology = longer hours (but only for the happy few)

In line with a post earlier found and reflected on. On a second read: only 1/3 mentioned longer working hours. So I have to admit that the caption is misleading. Moreover,  if work and hobbies converge, what is the problem to spend more time on your hjobbie!


by Adi 26. juli 2009 14:33

I suppose it kinda proves the point that I’m writing this article on a Sunday, but recent research by the Kelly Global Workforce Index indicates that whilst modern technology has improved productivity, it has also ensured we all work longer hours.

Lets start with the good news, that technology has made us generally more productive before getting onto the longer hours thing later.

Technology makes us more productive

The survey found that 78% of North American workers believed that devices such as laptops and mobile phones had made them more productive, with an equally high number stating that the ability for such technology to allow work to be done outside of the office was a positive step.

Indeed 87% of respondants believed that an official office remote working strategy would be attractive to them as employees, with the modern workforce apparently regarding such flexibility as a major factor in attaining good work/life balance.

Productivity good; longer hours bad

Ok, I promised the bad news and here it is.  Around a third of those questioned in the survey said that modern technology had led to longer working hours.  Apparently however these longer working hours are not seen as a bad thing, and indeed many of those surveyed revealed that they are happy with their work/life balance.

This post is recommended for you  Leveraging Smart Data for Business Success

Does technology have a halo effect?

The Halo Effect is a cognitive bias whereby our perceptions of a particular trait are influenced by perceptions of similar traits.  So we wrote recently about the apparent connection between a persons looks and their managerial ability.  Essentially, good looking managers were said to be better than uglier managers.  This is a classic example of the Halo Effect in action.  Good looks are a positive attribute, so the perception is that good looking people must therefore be better at other things as well, such as management.

Such cognitive bias is rife where questions rely on perception rather than any kind of quantitative analysis.  And I fear that this study has fallen foul of cognitive bias.  It used questions such as:

In your job, how important is it that you have a good balance between work and personal life?

How have technlogies such as mobile phones, PDAs and laptops affected your productivity at work?

Combine reasonably vague questions with fluffy answers such as somewhat important and much more productive and you get results that are highly questionable. Lets start from the beginning.  How can productivity be measured?

Measuring productivity

Here are a few ways that productivity can be measured:

  • Technological change
  • Efficiency
  • Real cost savings
  • Benchmarking processes

What others can you think of?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]