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Does she work for you?

One of your employees wrote to me. She wrote anonymously, because shes afraid for her job. So in truth she may not actually be your employee, but shes probably enough like someone who works for you that you ought to read what she has to say.

She begins by complimenting IW on an article we ran on corporate wellness programs. But what she really wants to talk about is productivity -- or, rather, how you think youre maximizing her productivity:

I work for a company that considers itself a leader in its industry and a model for the manufacturing community. My manager requires that I be at my desk at 7 a.m. sharp each morning with my CAD program on the screen, ready to draw. . . . I am allowed two 15-minute paid breaks and one half-hour unpaid lunch. . . . I must be sitting at my desk until the time I take my break, and must have returned within the allotted time, ready to draw. . . .

Of course, my employer encourages me to partake in its wellness awareness programs.

I am reprimanded for any time used to do anything that is not directly related to my work. Therefore, I must not be caught reading industry magazines, going to the bathroom or getting drinks off break times, reading e-mail, intranet information, or any other in-house publications sent to me. These must all be done on my own time. I am finding it difficult to maintain my health and nutrition with this kind of tyranny. My food is gulped on the run, if I eat at all during the day. I drink no more than eight ounces of water to avoid extra trips to the bathroom. . . .

Im waiting for the time when even the company I work for will allow me to use what they are paying people to offer.

Ive always believed that how close an employee comes to his or her potential productivity is a function of a simple equation: TIME x TALENT x ENTHUSIASM x COMMITMENT = PRODUCTIVITY. By the sound of your employees letter, Id guess that while youve succeeded in capturing nearly 100% of her time, youre getting significantly less than half of her talent, enthusiasm, and commitment. By even the most generous calculation -- 100% x 50% x 50% x 50% -- youre still getting, at most, 12.5% of her potential productivity. Why? Because she seems to have somehow decided that despite your investment in various corporate wellness programs, you really dont give a damn about her as an individual unless shes at her desk, ready to draw.

See you at 7 a.m.

* * *

While youre thinking about time, dont forget March 13, 1998. Thats the deadline for nominations for this years Americas Best Plants Awards. Now in its ninth year, the program recognizes the 10 best manufacturing facilities in North America, as determined by a panel of IndustryWeek editors and other manufacturing experts. For a nomination form or more information, please contact Joanne Honohan by phone (216/931-9443), fax (216/696-7670), or e-mail ([email protected]).

Send e-mail messages to John Brandt at [email protected]

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