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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Presenteeism, Technology Advances & Degrading Quality Of Work Life

“Presenteeism", or going to work when sick, is a persistent problem at more than half of U.S. workplaces and costs U.S. business a whopping $180 billion a year, research shows. The CCH research shows that CCH research shows 56% of human resource executives see "presenteeism" as a problem now, up from 39% making the same complaint two years ago. Like its more notorious counterpart absenteeism, it takes on growing importance as employers try to keep an eye on productivity and the bottom line. Presenteeism costs employers in terms of lowered productivity, prolonged illness by sick workers and the potential spread of illness to colleagues and customers and this can prove elusive to measure, unlike absenteeism. Paradoxically, as a matter of fact, presenteeism is often encouraged, as employees may be honored for perfect attendance. A significant number of workforce suffer from lack of privileges like paid sick leave notes the study.
Combine that with the affliction of continuous partial attention. Our attention bandwidth has been stretched to upper limits. We are in a constant race to beat the bandwidth that tech provides us with. I wrote several months back that email is degrading from productivity wonder to maddening time worsener. Continuous partial attention is motivated by a desire not to miss opportunities. We want to ensure our place as a live node on the network, we feel alive when we're connected. To be busy and to be connected is to be alive. Most people are working hard to maximize opportunities and contacts in our life. So much social networking, so little time. Speed, agility, and connectivity at top of mind. We are so inundated with such thoughts & tune that marketers are humming that for two decades now. Now we're over-stimulated, over-wound, unfulfilled. The next aphrodisiac of attention would be around committed full-attention focus, where experiencing this engaged attention is to feel alive. Trusted filters, trusted protectors, trusted concierge, human or technical, removing distractions and managing boundaries, filtering signal from noise, enabling meaningful connections, that make us feel secure, are the opportunity for the next generation. Technology alone can’t fill in here and do justice. The problem is so acute that this has given raise to a new method for improving the effectiveness of an enterprise's information workers by providing culture, processes, and tools to gain control over the messages sent, received, and discovered by its information workers- enterprise attention management to address these and related issues. This may need other convergent forces - sociological and economical to operate in alignment with this technological advance.

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"All views expressed are my personal views are not related in any way to my employer"