Productivity

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Where Digitization Is Failing to Deliver

  • Interview
  • Read Time: 8 min 

It has become a truism that the pace of work is faster than ever, as digital technologies speed up communication and operational processes in a story of unending progress. But increased speed has not translated into increased rates of productivity growth. Since 2004, growth rates have slowed not just in the US but across the world. Chad Syverson, J. Baum Harris Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, explains what the implications are, and why the benefits of new technologies are not straightforward.

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Getting Workplace Safety Right

Companies aiming to be competitive in the long term do not see safety and productivity as trade-offs. Research drawn from multiple studies conducted with the support of companies, unions, and regulators in the United States and Canada finds no evidence that protecting the workforce harms competitiveness. “Once companies understand that safety is not the enemy of efficiency,” the authors write, “they can begin to build organizational safety capabilities.”

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Has Your Office Become a Lonely Place?

With increasing amounts of work getting done outside the traditional corporate office — for example, through employees working at home — those left in the office may face a lonelier, and even less productive, office environment. In fact, working remotely may be contagious, because if many people on a team aren’t in the office much, coming into the office has less benefit for the remaining employees. “Once a certain number of individuals are working offsite, everyone is isolated,” write researchers.

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Free Article

Does Your Boss Want You to Sleep?

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 2 min 

Being fresh for the work day requires prioritizing sleep — which organizations can do a better job encouraging. Academics Christopher M. Barnes and Gretchen Spreitzer argue that sleep is “a key to human sustainability” but note that many leaders model behavior that discourages getting a full night’s rest: executives who brag about only needing a handful of hours of sleep “are not setting a good example, especially when it comes to getting the best performance out of the talent in an organization.”

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What to Expect From a Corporate Lean Program

“Lean” programs help many manufacturers boost productivity. But misplaced expectations of how quickly these programs can improve performance can make their implementation difficult. Better understanding of the rates at which lean programs produce improvements would make implementation go more smoothly — and lead to more increases in productivity. Managers should set targets that are appropriate to specific plants and be careful not to derail progress by using initial gains to lay off workers.

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Image courtesy of Flickr user taaalia.
Free Article

Own Your Time, Boost Your Productivity

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 2 min 

MIT Sloan’s Robert Pozen has an array of strategies to make work time more productive. In a session on “Maximizing Your Personal Productivity” at MIT Sloan Executive Education, Pozen explained that people often don’t articulate their biggest goals and don’t have the right tools to make them true priorities. “You’re unlikely to achieve your top goals if you haven’t written them down,” said Pozen. “If they’re vague and in your head, you haven’t crystallized things.”

Image courtesy of Flickr user prayitno.
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Can Sensors Fuel Productivity Growth?

The Internet Revolution has so far not produced the kind of long-term productivity growth seen during the Industrial Revolution. Digital technology drove U.S. productivity growth above three percent annually only between 1996 and 2004. Since then, productivity has fallen to about 1.6 percent a year. General Electric argues that productivity growth will jump again as the industrial Internet emerges, connecting machines like turbines and jet engines to factories, and using analytics to make better decisions about maintenance and production.

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The Power of Introverts, the Power of Quiet

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 2 min 

Susan Cain’s new book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” argues that introverted people who value quiet and solitude to be creative are as able as extroverts to be transformative leaders.

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Free Article

Are You A Master of Brevity Yet?

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 1 min 

Author Christopher Johnson’s new book Microstyle: The Art of Writing Little highlights the best ways to get messages noticed, remembered, and passed along. “Brevity is just a minimal requirement,” he says.

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Understanding informal decision networks

  • Blog

Business use of “social network analysis” is in the news — and is a topic featured in the Winter 2009 issue of MIT Sloan Management Review.

Showing 1-20 of 52