Lexicon Systems, LLC Blog

lex'•i•con: the vocabulary of a branch of knowledge. Thoughts on environment, health & safety (EHS), sustainability and information technology to support them.


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Information overload is a way of life… do social technologies increase productivity?

Most knowledge workers spend way too much time on email. I know I do. Now, with social networking tools, I find myself reading blog posts at least one hour a day to keep up with IT and business issues. With me, it’s not so much an obsession as the need to have information as near “real time” as possible. Business was not like this fifteen years ago when the fastest technologies were the fax machine and overnight mail. Email and text messaging have put us into information overdrive.

In a June 2012 report on social networking tools and productivity, The McKinsey Global Institute found that knowledge workers spend 28 hours a week on emails, searching for information and collaborating internally. Many businesses are just starting to leverage social technologies for internal and external collaboration and to market and sell products and services. McKinsey also found that unlocking social technologies has the potential to improve knowledge worker productivity by 20-25 percent.

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Smartphones and tablets–21st Century “beepers” or productivity tools?

Smartphones and tablets are cool and fun to use—so much so that workers check their mail at all hours of the day and night, at the dinner table, at their kids’ sporting events and at social gatherings. They check mail before going to work in the morning and after supper. They send business-related text messages at times when a phone call might be too intrusive. A YouTube video went viral; it showed a woman texting while walking, and she fell head-first into a fountain.

In some ways, smartphones and mobile devices make us more productive, and our bosses expect us to be on call 24 hours a day. Being on call with a smartphone is only marginally better than carrying a beeper.  I prefer to work only half days—from 7 am to 7 pm. As they say on Facebook, “LOL” or 🙂 .