Picking up the slack


Erik Brynjolfsson, a knowledge economist at The Center for Digital Business at MIT, studies the ways that information technology changes knowledge worker productivity. Erik and his team used new processes to measure the impact of technology on task work in an information-centric  workplace, and they tore the productivity engine down to its nuts and bolts.

One of the things they found was that new technologies tend to create what they call “IT-enabled slack” as processes are improved.

As IT improvements were introduced in the study environments, they were able to measure small performance gains in the minutae of workers’ tasks. Cumulatively, these small gains created “slack” which allowed workers more time to communicate with each other.  This not only resulted in productivity and performance improvements, but also gave them more personal time for relaxing or working on personal projects.

Sounds like a win-win to me.

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