In New Technology Takes Mental Toll on Workers, Kevin Coughlin writes about the impact of cell phones, email, text messaging, and so on, on productivity.
E-mails, instant messages, cell phone calls, text messages, RSS feeds, Weblog updates, hundreds of TV channels, satellite radio, electronic billboards, even bottle caps — the information seems to come from every direction.
. . .
The technology market research firm International Data estimates 22.3 trillion e-mails will be sent this year. On average, workers must wade through about 40 every day.
That isn’t counting at least 3 billion instant messages relayed daily by America Online, Yahoo and Microsoft, says analyst Samir Sakpal of Frost & Sullivan international industry consultants. Another 81.2 billion text messages flashed onto Americans’ mobile phones last year, Sakpal says.
The numbers add up to a productivity paradox.
Electronic interruptions waste 28 billion man-hours per year in this country, at a cost of $588 billion, concludes a survey of more than 1,000 information workers by the consulting firm Basex.
He talks about a productivity paradox, but let’s take that one step further. Today’s information driven workplace and the attendant technology, is a fundamentally disempowering environment. How is it reasonable to expect any work of consequence to be accomplished in that environment?
Speaking from personal experience, my highest productivity is on airplanes — no internet, no cell phones, no text messages.
Our industry’s business model — the metering of minutes of usage — exacerbates the problem. In an environment where the model is to charge the customer for usage, there is no incentive to help the customer curb usage.