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Some Are Paying Strangers to Watch Them During Work

The concept called 'body doubling' is designed to keep people focused on the job

(Newser) - Across the US, more and more people logging in to work from home are being observed by strangers as they do so. It's no invasion of privacy: The workers are actually paying for the privilege. As the Wall Street Journal explains, the concept is called "body doubling" and...

Economists Perplexed by Plunge in Worker Productivity

There's no shortage of possible explanations, but nobody knows what comes next

(Newser) - Perplexing, strange, very odd: Those are a few of the terms economists are using to try to explain this year’s record-setting plunge in worker productivity, according to the Washington Post . Productivity fell more than 4% in the first half of 2022, the largest drop since 1947, when the BLS...

Google Workers Fret After Ominous Words From CEO

Pichai warns that productivity is lacking, company isn't 'immune to economic headwinds'

(Newser) - It's been a worrisome few weeks for Google, as profits dipped for the second quarter in a row and hiring was temporarily paused. Now, CEO Sundar Pichai has put out an alert to employees, seeking ideas to boost efficiency and up productivity and warning of an economy that doesn'...

Falling Productivity May Signal Trouble Despite Strong Hiring

NYT columnist says productivity is a better economic indicator than jobs

(Newser) - June's employment report surprised most analysts, as US businesses added 372,000 jobs, way above expectations. The strong numbers dampened talk of impending recession, but what do they say about the strength of the economy overall? By themselves, they don’t really say much, according to New York Times ...

Amazon's Staff Turnover Rate May No Longer Be Sustainable

Internal memo reveals fears of exhausting available US labor pool by 2024

(Newser) - With its sky-high staff turnover rate, Amazon fears it could run out of US workers by 2024, an anxiety that could force higher wages or increased automation. That's according to leaked internal research from mid-2021 as seen by Recode . "If we continue business as usual, Amazon will deplete...

Cut Yourself Some Slack: It's OK to Take It Easy Now

Trying to be productive can add to the stress of isolation: experts

(Newser) - You might be feeling a tad lazy what with all those images of home workouts, fresh-baked bread, and organized closets shared online. But in the midst of a crisis, taking care of yourself—and leaving the rest on the back burner—is doing enough, writes Taylor Lorenz at the New ...

This Firm Cut Its Workweek to 4 Days, With Surprising Results

Microsoft Japan's monthlong experiment saw a nearly 40% boost in productivity

(Newser) - Japanese employees are known for their work ethic, to the point where it can often be excessive: As CNBC notes, there's even a term there—"karoshi," or "death by overwork"—that has cropped up due to workers dying on the job . Yet Fox News reports...

Swedes' Trial With 6-Hour Workday Getting Thumbs-Up

There are expenses involved, but workers seem happier, more productive

(Newser) - Full-time workers in the US spend an average of 47 hours a week punched in for a paycheck, according to Gallup data cited by Quartz , keeping pace with the current trend to work harder and longer. But a retirement home in Sweden has been reaping positive results from an experiment...

Study Reveals How to Take Better Work Breaks

For starters, don't wait until the afternoon

(Newser) - Did you just get caught taking a few minutes to update your fantasy football team or Instagram your lunch? Just tell your boss it's making you a better worker. Two researchers from Baylor University recently published a study after looking at the break habits of 95 workers to identify...

To Work Better, Break Every 52 Minutes

And make those breaks 17 minutes' long: study

(Newser) - To maximize your productivity, you should probably be spending a lot more time not working. At least, that is, according to a study that finds we should take 17-minute breaks after every 52 minutes of work. The idea, the Muse reports, is to treat those 52-minute work periods "as...

When Did Americans Stop Dreaming of Leisure Time?
When Did Americans Stop Dreaming of Leisure Time?

When Did Americans Stop Dreaming of Leisure Time?

In the 1950s, we thought we'd have 30-hour workweeks by now: Matt Novak

(Newser) - "Tell your children not to be surprised if the year 2000 finds 35 or even a 20-hour work week fixed by law." That prediction was made by the AP in 1950. In 1967, Walter Cronkite predicted we'd also be enjoying month-long vacations by the year 2000. Today,...

Chill! You'll Get Way More Done
 Chill! You'll Get 
 Way More Done 

Chill! You'll Get Way More Done

Human-energy expert urges us to relax and get some sleep

(Newser) - Wake up tired, scroll through email, wolf down whatever, rush to work, and scramble to keep up—and that's just your morning. Sound familiar? A man who has built a business around telling people to relax makes his case in the New York Times : "Paradoxically, the best way...

It's Time to End the 60-Hour Workweek

 It's Time to End 
 the 60-Hour 
in case you missed it

It's Time to End the 60-Hour Workweek

40 hours provides maximum productivity: Geoffrey James

(Newser) - Putting in a 60-hour workweek may look impressive—but it's probably not helping the company, or you. Plenty of studies back this up, writes Geoffrey James at Time , who points to a turn-of-the-20th-century analysis by Ford Motor Company that concluded the most productive number of weekly hours for workers...

2011 Senate 'Laziest' in Decades

2011 saw least-productive session since 1992

(Newser) - The 2011 Senate produced less legislation than any other since 1992, according to a report by the chamber's own secretary. Throughout its 170 days, the Senate was in session an average of just 6.5 hours per day; only 2008's Senate had a lower figure, with three members...

VW Is Right: Shut Off the BlackBerries

Why automaker's move to unplug employees makes sense

(Newser) - Three cheers for Volkswagen! The German automaker has decided to turn off the email server for its employees' BlackBerries every day before and after work, and Roger Cohen of the New York Times thinks it’s a visionary move. Constantly being plugged into work has real costs, and while employees...

British Businesses Grumble About Wedding Day Off

Public holiday predicted to cost economy almost $10B

(Newser) - Guillotine-wielding protesters aren't the only people in Britain not entirely thrilled about today's royal wedding. The British are getting an extra public holiday for the occasion and business owners complain that they're losing revenue at a time when they're trying to recover from recession. The...

US Workers Stretched Thin
 US Workers Stretched Thin  
Hirings Ahead?

US Workers Stretched Thin

With productivity decreasing, companies may need to hire

(Newser) - The employed portion of the US workforce is feeling burnt out. According to new numbers from the Labor Department, productivity fell 0.9% this quarter, as the time workers spent on the job rose faster than the economic output they produced. That means companies could soon be forced to hire...

Sleeping In Will Help at Work
 Sleeping In Will Help at Work 

Sleeping In Will Help at Work

Sleep hard on Sunday, and you'll feel better on Monday

(Newser) - Sleeping in on Saturday or Sunday could boost your energy and productivity on Monday, according to a new study. Just one extended snooze—think 10 hours or more—can help the brain recover from a week of not sleeping enough, a University of Pennsylvania researcher tells the Daily Telegraph . “...

Google's Pac-Man Doodle Cost $120M in Lost Work

Playable logo sucked up 5M working hours

(Newser) - Google's playable Pac-Man doodle left the world's bosses short-changed to the tune of $120 million last week, according to Tony Wright, maker of productivity tracking software Rescue Time . Wright calculates that the game caused users—most of whom, presumably, were at work and supposed to be doing something besides munching...

As Jobs Dry Up, Self Employment On the Rise

More Americans set out on their own, often in real estate

(Newser) - The number of hours worked by the self-employed jumped 8.5% in the last three months of 2009, as more unemployed people decided to try being their own bosses and those already self-employed buckled down, according to new figures from the Labor Department. “Firms aren’t hiring, so people...

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