Connectivity and Productivity: The Web Giveth, the Web Taketh Away

December 25, 2007 12:01 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
While software engineers look to online games for new ways to organize the workplace, the Internet’s myriad routes to procrastination can still sap productivity.

30-Second Summary

Consultants, such as Karen E. Klein at Business Week, generally advise bosses not to fret about workers enjoying a little time-out on the Web every day.

Klein argues that surfing at the office is a fair price to pay for the productivity gains seen since Internet access became nearly universal.

But there are other voices in this debate taking more extreme and polarized views: the Web evangelists and the Net skeptics.

Among the former are Entellium and Seriosity, companies marketing office software that actually draws inspiration from online games, such as "World of Warcraft," which are supposedly so distracting to workers.

In the opposite camp are figures such as management consultant Ken Seigel, an avowed enemy of perpetual connectivity. He told The Christian Science Monitor that e-mail has become “the perfect way to avoid solving problems.” Seigel encourages bosses to observe a “no e-mail Friday” in the office.
Net skeptic Andrew O’Hagan, a British novelist, goes even further. For O’Hagan, e-mail and cell phones have become a regrettable existential necessity for the modern individual.

As O’Hagan puts it, the philosophy behind compulsive e-mailing and browsing is "I’m available, therefore I am.”

Headline Links: The Internet evangelists

Opinion & Analysis: Web caution to Web skepticism

Exercise caution
No tolerance

Related Links: U.S. productivity, Internet self-discipline and ‘Second Life’


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