Office suites are a big productivity drain

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Office suites are a big productivity drain

Postby Villeroy » Fri Feb 23, 2018 9:43 am

Why Microsoft Office is a bigger productivity drain than Candy Crush Saga
Because it reverts the division of labor. An office suite is a generalization machine.
Last edited by Villeroy on Fri Feb 23, 2018 8:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Office suites are a big productivity drain

Postby Villeroy » Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:17 pm

I recall my father mumbling something into his dictaphone, passing it over to his secretary who typed the intended German text with no errors, typos nor grammar glitches onto perfectly layouted fine letter paper. When necessary, she could type faster than anybody could speek. She knew all the tricks about perfect invoice tables, she made sense of my father's mumbling. She knew everything about the sale in question. She was a specialist for typing German text onto letter paper and a great person on top of it all. Well, that was efficiency combined with maximum convenience out of specialization.

Antithesis:
Later in the 90ies, other city, other company, I observed how the same kind of a lady could handle a word processor like nobody else. She typed some well-worded phrases into a form letter template within seconds, clicked together a list of receipients. When I was going to walk downstairs to get her the printout, she passed me the envelopes so I don't have to come up again. No need to double-check anything.

The word processor made her even more efficient than she ever could be with a typewriter, carbon paper and dictaphone.
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Re: Office suites are a big productivity drain

Postby FJCC » Fri Feb 23, 2018 5:55 pm

I think office suites are like any tool, useful if you know the goal and how to use the tool but inefficient otherwise. I can go to my local hardware store and buy all sorts of tools that would "help" me renovate my house but all I would accomplish is a bunch of damage. I agree that there is a strange tolerance for wasting time and money with software. My employers always had specialists supervising even the smallest purchases but everyone was provided with software for which they got no training or guidance. I have seen countless hours sunk into MS Project plans or Excel calculations that were useless.

This topic did bring me a smile by reminding me of when I was a young manager and we first started using PowerPoint. I told the engineers (jokingly) that I would fire anyone who used an animation. If they had time for that, they obviously didn't have much to do.

By the way, I think you mean "division" of labor, not "diversion", in the first post.
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Re: Office suites are a big productivity drain

Postby Villeroy » Fri Feb 23, 2018 8:52 pm

Thanks, "diversion" was a Freudian slip ;)
That commentary on "productivity suites" reminded me on my daily "work" here on the forum.

Under the given circumstances (firearms in USA) I stumbled upon another reportage about heroism in a niche of the public sector where computers are forbidden: https://www.gq.com/story/inside-federal ... -many-guns
This kind of capricious despotism makes me really angry. At the same time I feel deep respect and sympathy for these true patriots who understand the importance of their work and develop creative solutions against their back-stabbing regulators from the freedom hypocrites.
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Re: Office suites are a big productivity drain

Postby keme » Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:52 am

Villeroy wrote:...
Under the given circumstances (firearms in USA) I stumbled upon another reportage about heroism in a niche of the public sector where computers are forbidden: https://www.gq.com/story/inside-federal ... -many-guns
...

Now that was scary, but important. Also reassuring, in a way, to know that there are people over there who try to bend the system into making sense...

Thanks for sharing. Keep them diversions coming ;)
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Re: Office suites are a big productivity drain

Postby robleyd » Mon Feb 26, 2018 10:24 am

bend the system into making sense


I think you mean "being a little less insane". Apropos, I heard a story on the TV [yes, heard, I was in another room] about gun laws in the US and how they are considering making the minimum age 18 to be allowed to own an assault rifle. WTF :!: Assault rifles are specifically for killing people, aren't they? <rhetorical>Why would you need one.<rhetorical/>

I have this mental image of Elmer Fudd with an AK-47 running around saying "Be afwaid - be vewwy afwaid".

Got my hat - I'll let myself out the door now...
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Re: Office suites are a big productivity drain

Postby UnklDonald418 » Wed Feb 28, 2018 6:21 pm

When I look at the employment want adds I often see office jobs that require a level of proficiency with multiple Microsoft Office modules. I'm not sure that skill set qualifies them as a generalist.
The fine division of specialties that Adam Smith described doesn't always work out as intended. In the real world many of those repetitive jobs have been replaced by machines, and what workers that are left are often cross trained so they can be reassigned to different jobs as needed.
The skill set for many professions has evolved. When I was in school, slide rules and T-squares were essential tools for engineers. Likewise, the skill set for office workers has evolved.
A secretary/typist with the typing skill that Villeroy described was rare, witness all the typists erasers, correction sheets, fluids, ribbons and later self correcting typewriters. Shorthand was another skill required of secretary/typists that was essentially rendered obsolete by the productivity gains of the dictaphone. Also, today's office worker has spelling and grammar check functions to assist them.
In my experience it is the distractions that affect (or is it effect?) productivity. The introduction of cell phones allowed workers to direct their children from their office desk without tying up company phone lines. We had two employees whose work areas were close enough that they often spoke to each other while working, but when text messaging first appeared they also began exchanging numerous text messages each day. We had another employee who had a spreadsheet that he would instantly pop up to disguise the fact that he was actually internet surfing.
I recall a sign on the wall of the executive restroom where my wife once worked “Management is a series of interruptions interrupted by other interruptions”.

This kind of capricious despotism makes me really angry. At the same time I feel deep respect and sympathy for these true patriots who understand the importance of their work and develop creative solutions against their back-stabbing regulators from the freedom hypocrites.

Well said, Villeroy.

Actually, I believe Florida is considering raising the current age to buy assault rifles from 18 to 21.
Since the 1930's it was illegal for gun stores in the US to sell automatic weapons including assault rifles because their intended purpose is to kill people. Then in 2001 the sociopaths heading the NRA were able to buy enough politicians and most of those regulations were repealed. It remains illegal to sell fully automatic versions, but go figure, in most places bump stop devices are legal which allow the semi-automatic rifles to be converted to automatic.
robleyd you ask why? Too many Americans treat guns as toys, and assault rifles are the ultimate toy in their fantasy world where they pretend to be a military hero or believe they going to take out a bad guy someday. There are some who want to return to the good ole' days (if they ever existed) when just like in the movies, you strapped on your six shooter before walking out the door. I had one co-worker that destroyed his TV and nearly shot his wife. He was practicing his quick draw while watching a TV western.
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