Simplistic assessments driven by special interests tend to convince the confused corporate employer to attribute the blame of productivity loss to an errant workforce and jump into a frenzy of surveillance and lay-offs without being sure at the first place, whether the traditional ideas of productivity can be applied at all to the situation. New technology creates new stresses as also new benefits, and the idea of productivity itself needs to change and take into account the whole rather than a part of the consequences of the computer network in the workspace. "To be sure, part of the problem is that we are mismeasuring productivity" (Blinder & Quandt, 27-28) for we have not yet standardized the inputs and outputs, and the traditional workspace is already being pushed by the virtual workspace that extends the office workspace into the homes of telecommuting employees. When we talk about productivity in the workplace, our primary concern is labor or employee productivity, and the way modern technology affects it. Despite its obvious boons, modern technology also affects the workspace by its inherent tangible and mechanical complexity, fallibility, and speed of change. Usually these are overlooked as corporates tend to view system failures as part of the game while employee failures as unpardonable.
Too often, in the confus...
'Hand it round first, and cut it afterwards.'
Too often, in the confused state of the market, employers buy systems and software first and understand their compatibility and utility later. This results in a terrible lack of standardization that affects both the employer and the employee. A hardware failure can cost between 2-16 hours of productivity on an individual computer. A server failure affects the entire workforce and can throttle productivity and raise stress to unbearable heights especially if deadlines are on hand. (Johnston) Slow operating systems and machines take away productive time frustrating the employee who feels out of control, and that the computer sets the pace of work rather than the human. The effect of system failures on worker stress and productivity has been a matter of research and "some studies have shown that characteristics of computer technology can add to the stress experienced by office workers. Johansson and Aronsson ( 1984 ) showed that computer breakdown yielded an increase in adrenaline excretion and diastolic blood pressure, as well as in selfrated irritation, fatigue, rush, and boredom. Schleifer ( 1987 ) showed that slow computer response time generated higher ratings of mood disturbances."( Carayon-Sainfort, 246) The loss of valuable data and related productivity loss exhibits worker stress in a phenomenon termed as PC rage. In a research conducted by Symantec in UK in conjunction with the National Opinion Poll, it was found that nearly half of Britons have reacted to system crashes by "either abusing colleagues, hitting the computer, screaming, shouting or hurling parts of the PC." (PC Rage, The Birmingham Post) More than half of the Symantec research subjects admitted to experiencing a loss of productivity as a result of