I was reading an interesting article on productivity among information workers. Although the studies only dealt with one company in one industry, their findings were,

… information technology use correlated with improved productivity (as measured by revenue generation, in this case) – but it also correlated with employees working on more projects at once. In other words, workers who were heavier users of information technology tools like e-mail tended to generate more revenue – but were not quicker at completing any given project (p. 17).

Sort of an obvious finding if one thinks of multitasking and how productivity declines the more you try to do. But a question that I came away with is this – is it better to restrict the amount of technology available to those employees that don’t need it, and in so doing, keep them focused more on the work? Or will that just spur them to find ways around the blocks and get to the technology they want to use anyway?

The actual studies this article is based on are available from here and here.

— Mangelsdorf, M. E. (2008, Winter). What Makes Information Workers Productive. MIT Sloan Management Review, Vol. 49, Issue 2. http://sloanreview.mit.edu/smr/issue/2008/winter/12/.