Tag: Productivity

Productivity on a Pedestal

I was having coffee with a friend the other day and heard a wonderful story.

We were talking about the changes Covid lockdowns have affected on working lives and in that context came a story of an employee working for a large integrated services corporate. It’s a company I have worked for in the recent past and I’m not going to name them but those who know me will know the company I am talking about.

The large integrated services corporate – which I’ll call “the company” – having been forced to allow employees to work from home (this doesn’t really fit with the company’s culture), has deployed software on its employees laptops that measures their “productivity”. We were talking about the changes Covid lockdowns have affected on working lives and in that context came a story of an employee working for a large integrated services corporate.

The software measures how often the mouse is moved on the employee’s laptop and figures that if the mouse is moving, at least periodically, the employee is being productive. This actually measures a proxy that doesn’t really correlate to productivity at all, but that’s beside the point. The large integrated services corporate – which I’ll call “the company” – having been forced to allow employees to work from home (the company is against such “freedoms”), has deployed software on its employees laptops that measures their “productivity”. The company measures how often the mouse is moved on the employee’s laptop and figures that if the mouse is moving, at least periodically, the employee is working. This actually measures a proxy that doesn’t really correlate to productivity at all, but that’s beside the point.

The clever employee, having completed all his work tasks, now wanted to watch a bit of cricket. But in doing so, lack of mouse movement on his computer would lead the company to believe he wasn’t being productive. Presumably some middle manager would be looking at compiled reports of employee productivity based on mouse movement. The clever employee, having completed all his work tasks, now wanted to watch a bit of cricket. But in doing so would lead the company, his employer, to believe he wasn’t being productive. Presumably some middle manager would be looking at compiled reports of employee productivity based on mouse movement.

So he connects an external mouse to his laptop, hooks up a tether from the mouse to a pedestal fan which, as it oscillates, causes the mouse to move. Now the pedestal fan is doing his work for him and he is more productive than ever.