July 02, 2008

Smart is Evil

There's a recent trend with some white-collar businesses who are installing really nice kitchens and break rooms in their offices with giant plasma TVs. I was talking with one of my friends about that, and his reply was, "yeah, that's awesome, my workplace sucks."

Then I explained that the reason for these businesses doing these things is that the business wants to make their employees feel as comfortable as they can at the office so they don't feel like they have to run out the door at 5 sharp. Maybe they'll take a break, make some dinner, watch some TV, and then get a couple more hours of work done.

His reply, "That's evil."

I guess it would be evil if the employees were slaves. But, the business is trying to figure out a mutually-beneficial partnership that allows the worker to enjoy his job more while getting more value out of the worker at the same time.

Nothing is coerced. Both sides like the results. How can that be evil?


Matt J said...

My father is a farmer, and he always has trouble with keeping employees. But, he's found that hiring a married person with kids is better than hiring someone who's is single. I guess the responsibility of being a provider motivates an hourly employee to work harder/longer.

But, who is this person that is hanging out at work, eating dinner, and watching TV. It's probably a highly motivated, single, childless person.

So a moderately motivated family man/woman would only work hard enough to provide for his/her family, but not so hard that they don't see their family for dinner.

Eric Olsen said...

right, so are you suggesting that this method would have different success rates within different industries?

Eric Olsen said...

that reminds me, it could just be a hiring ploy, too. I loved that the place I work at now had a pool table in our creative department when I was hired. I've played maybe once over the last two years.

Matt J said...

I think it only works for salaried employees. Cause any employer of hourly employees would make them go off the clock to play pool/watch TV. And if they have to go off the clock they wouldn't do it.

I think you've got something there... the TV is just for flashy recruiting.

Cheesehead Runner said...

I think you have to ask yourself "Do you work to live or live to work?" I'd much rather watch tv from the comfort of my own home.

Steve said...

In the very least this seems far less evil than other ways of getting employees to work longer, like fostering atmospheres of fear and distrust.

And yah, it wouldn't work well for hourly employees. Mine doesn't want me working more than 40 hours unless we're so severely short-staffed that I'm called in to do an entire extra shift.

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