Tag Archives | Productivity

How And Why The Cubicle Farm Kills Your Mind

PIC: Larsinio (PD)

PIC: Larsinio (PD)

In high school we were required to learn the basics of literary criticism, starting with identifying the varieties of conflict to be found in fiction. I remember one was “Man vs. Nature.” I think that learning about “Man vs. Cubicle” would have been a better place to start.

Via The Atlantic:

Since the dawn of the office, people have been concerned with productivity and attention spans. William James, one of the fathers of modern psychology, posited that office workers would be faced with the enormous challenge of maintaining voluntary attention. He and others like him promoted work that fostered involuntary, or what they called “primitive,” attention. Today, a growing body of research suggests that nature promotes the kind of involuntary or primitive attention that James prescribed.

Eva Selhub and Alan Logan’s book Your Brain on Nature references a 2005 study in which people were shown photographs after performing a cognitively demanding task.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Stop Saying Robots Are Destroying Jobs—They Aren’t

If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them.     ~Isaac Asimov

If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them.
~Isaac Asimov

Change and the unknown may be the commonest fears, along with public speaking. All of which hold the potential of limiting progress. Perhaps some adhere to a notion of singularity, maybe ignorance, perhaps others are prone to the narratives passed down from parents. I don’t know, and I accept that. What I do know is that we all have the power to educate ourselves, and to choose. For the sake of balance I offer you this.

via MIT Technology Review

Many experts would have us believe that robots and other technologies are behind the job drought. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

In Praise Of Leisure

 Technology was supposed to give people increased leisure, yet everyone is working harder than ever. Via Chronicle of Higher Education, Robert Skidelsky and Edward Skidelsky on the utopia which never came to pass:

Imagine a world in which most people worked only 15 hours a week. They would be paid as much as, or even more than, they now are, because the fruits of their labor would be distributed more evenly across society. Leisure would occupy far more of their waking hours than work. It was exactly this prospect that John Maynard Keynes conjured up in a little essay published in 1930 called “Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren.”

Its thesis was simple. As technological progress made possible an increase in the output of goods per hour worked, people would have to work less and less to satisfy their needs, until in the end they would have to work hardly at all.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Imagine Free Beer At Your Office, But You Are Recorded For How Much You Drink…

Photo: Strom Carlson (CC)

Photo: Strom Carlson (CC)

Ryan Flinn reports for Bloomberg:

At Yelp Inc.’s San Francisco headquarters, a keg refrigerator provides a never-ending supply of beer to employees, letting them drink as much as they like.

They just have to be comfortable with full disclosure: Workers badge in to an iPad application attached to the keg that records every ounce they drink.

“If you’re at the top of the leader board consistently, I don’t know if that’s a place that you’d want to be,” said Eric Singley, director of Yelp consumer and mobile products. “Luckily, that hasn’t really even been an issue.”

In a contemporary version of “Mad Men” and its bibulous ad executives, more dot-coms are embracing the idea of drinking at work. That means keeping bars stocked at all hours, installing kegerators and letting programmers tip back a few while they code. It also raises questions about the effect of alcohol on productivity and the safety of employees.

Read the rest
Continue Reading