Mike Masnick had an excellent post on his techdirt blog entitled “If You’re Measuring Productivity In Hours, You’re Doing It Wrong.”
His basic premise is based on another article that was written in a NY Times blog.
Basically, the NY Times blog, focused on how many “hours” of lost productivity took place due to the information stream (e-mails, web surfing, etc.) Masnick takes the right view on this lost productivity. Productivity is not measured in hours. Productivity is measure in the amount of work that gets done.
While I can loosely see the “hours” argument for certain job types where employees are paid by the hour, it is fairly useless in a corporate world where employees are given a job to do and allowed to manage their own time. Any time that the individual “waste” comes out of there own personal time.
I am not argueing that today’s information streams do not reduce productivity, although there are some compelling arguements out there that it does not. The question you have to ask is are employees getting the job done that they were hired to do? If you hire someone to produce financial reports and these reports are completed on time and are accurate, why should you care that they check their Facebook page a few times a day? Think output – not hours.