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Can I Have Your Attention? by Jonathan McKee, Curt Steinhorst

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Chapter 13Best Buddy or Big Brother?

The final question to ask to become focus-wise in your use of technology is: Does your technology encourage or erode engagement?

If focused attention is a commodity, then focus-wise technology can help determine how your organization's attention resources are being spent. It's neither realistic nor desirable for employees to focus on work 100 percent of the time. We all need the relief of a cat video (or its equivalent) once in a while.

But what if your employees wasted hours every week watching and sharing a feline-palooza of videos?

Today's technology can virtually tell you anything you want to know about employee behavior. Anything. The question is no longer what can you know? It's what should you know to get the best performance at the lowest attention and financial cost? And that is not a simple question.

A rising number of companies are using productivity-monitoring software to watch employees and see exactly how they spend their time. The roughly $200 million monitoring industry is expected to grow to $500 million by 2020.1

George Orwell might nod at this.

But is it really Big Brother? Or just a concerned friend looking out for everyone's well-being?

People tend to work better when they're being watched. It's called the Hawthorne effect: Those being studied change their behavior simply because they're being studied.

A friend who used to work construction told me that everyone goofed off when the boss left. When the boss returned, the ...

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