Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Being Productive

So we got this email in the office last week that basically told us two things. First, we’re not being productive enough. Second, the company is under budget for the year so we’re not getting raises this year. Well, we might get a raise if the company can make up what we’re down in budget. No one’s holding their breath. The solution to that...are you ready...work more hours, at the same pay so that we’ll be more productive.

Then we had a meeting to hear about all this that’s going on and it started with the big wig in HR telling us that the company is putting out as much or more than last year with 33 less employees, yet we’re not productive. Hold on, that doesn’t make sense to me. So we’re doing as much or more with less and we’re not productive? Sounds to me like what we’re doing is 2+2=5 but what the company is telling us is that what we’re doing is 2+2=3.

Previously we’ve worked a 36.5 hour work week, which has been great, don’t get me wrong. Now, to be more productive, we’ll be working a 40 hour work week (not counting lunch breaks). But to make us feel all warm and fuzzy, the company is instituting flex time, of a sort. It’s not a full flex, so I couldn’t work 10 hours Monday through Thursday and take off Friday, but I could work 6-3 instead of 8-5 or a variation there abouts, as long as the deparment is covered from 10-2. All this and no merit increases, so I don’t get my measly 3% this year when the cost of everything is climbing.

This announcement came on Friday and takes effect today. Since we got this email, I don’t think my productivity has improved that much. I also don’t think it’s a good idea to make the staff all disgruntled and what not.

With the family to support, and no raise, that’s going to hurt. Now I could take some more hours at the library, but then that’s less time at home, and I’m already not home to see my son two nights a week and gone all day Saturday as well. Plus I think my lovely, beautiful, deadly wife would kill me (the insurance payoff just might be worth it). What’s a guy to do? I know, I’ll start selling organs on the black market!

That’s about it for my good news. How about the rest of you?


vince said...

As we all know, pointy-haired management people can't add. In fact, they generally aren't very bright. It's ma Dilbert world out there.

In my last corporate job (over 21 years ago - yippee!) I was a programmer and a trainer on the same software. My boss and her boss felt that if you were the programmer, then you were also the tester, and you should find all the bugs before the release. Oddly enough, I was taught just the opposite - the tester and the programmer should never be the same person. Further, the only way to have bug-free code is to mathematically prove the code, a process too expensive to do except when bugs would turn into human death, such as embedded software in planes, trains or cars.

Shortly after the clash we had over this, I left the corporate world and have never looked back.

I definitely feel your pain. And I'm afraid that I would have lost my job if I were working there, because I would have asked quite loudly your very question - how can you be doing as much or more with significantly fewer people and not be productive. And if I got no answer, I would have asked even louder.

Yeah, good thing I work for me.

mattw said...

We'll see how long it lasts. Everyone is questioning the logic in this decision, and we're wondering if in three months, when they evaluate the new program, if that's just another way of saying there'll be layoffs.

Anonymous said...

Matt - there is definitely a diminishing level of return on doing more with less, and torpedoing morale has a lot to do with that.

My company has had a flat operating budget and staffing head count for several years, at the same time we've grown infrastructure and product catalog significantly. It's gotten pretty ridiculous.

And in IT, occasionally, the execs look to us for some magic bullet solution, a technical platform that will miraculously cost little, implement quickly and easily, and automate functions while requiring little or no support. Yep, that's gonna happen, let me get right on it.

Good luck to you with the adjustment. I feel your pain. :P

mattw said...

Jeri - I'm always amazed around here when the higher ups think IT can just wave some magic wand and A)get things working or B)implement some new thing on one of our websites in the blink of an eye. They don't understand that these things take time and our IT and web development groups are swamped as it is.