With instant messages buzzing, emails pinging and texts ringing, how can employers increase productivity in the workplace? Software companies are tackling the problem, tracking employees' computer time to find ways to improve their efficiency.
Credit Courtesy of Yuki Noguchi
NPR's Yuki Noguchi tried RescueTime to measure her productivity. Here are the results.
Even when people think they're buckling down, studies show the average office worker wastes over a third of the day. There's Facebook, of course, and the email from a friend with a YouTube link. After all that, is it time to go get coffee?
Worker pay is the most expensive line item in the budget for most businesses, which means billions of dollars are going to waste.
But here's the silver lining: It turns out lack of productivity presents a big business opportunity.
Joe Hruska is pretty blunt about how much work anyone does in a typical day.
Poacher-turned-conservationist Karamoy Maramis, who works at Bogani Nani Wartabone National Park in Sulawesi, holds a maleo, a bird that exists in nature only on the Indonesian island.
Credit Aek Berry / AFP/Getty Images
Fishermen arrive on Wakatobi island in Sulawesi waters off eastern Indonesia in 2009. In the 19th century, the island's rich and unique biodiversity helped Wallace understand how species adapted to their environment — and how regions are defined by the animals that live in them.
Credit Rebecca Davis / NPR
Maleos are a prime example of an animal that has adapted to its environment, using geothermal energy to incubate their eggs rather than body heat. They dig into the earth, which is heated by hot springs, are able to sense spots that are exactly 86 to 97 degrees, and lay their eggs there.
A mammoth spinning vortex is seen on Saturn, in this "false-color" photograph released by NASA Monday. The image was captured by the Cassini spacecraft. A related image, presenting what a human eye would see, is farther down this page.
A huge storm is seen on Saturn's north pole, in this color image from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. NASA used red, green and blue spectral filters "to create this natural-color view, which is what the human eye would see if we were there at Saturn."
NASA is calling it "The Rose." By any other name, it's a mammoth storm on Saturn's north pole. Its eye spans an estimated 1,250 miles — 20 times the size of an average hurricane's eye on Earth. Winds in the Saturn storm's eye wall are believed to be four times as fast.
The stunning image of the spinning vortex was given "false colors" to emphasize low clouds (in red) versus high clouds (in green). NASA estimates that the clouds at the outer edge are moving at up to 330 miles per hour.
Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 6:00 pm
A civilian cargo plane crashed in Afghanistan, killing all seven crew members, the U.S. military said Monday.
NPR's Tom Bowman is reporting on it for our Newscast team. He says:
"Officials say the crash killed all seven crew members. And there is no word yet on their nationalities.
"Emergency responders are still on the scene of the crash, at the sprawling base north of Kabul. Officials are still trying to determine the reason for the crash but say there's no indication of hostile fire.
There are still relatively few women in tech. Maria Klawe wants to change that. As president of Harvey Mudd College, a science and engineering school in Southern California, she's had stunning success getting more women involved in computing.
Nearly all of the remaining provisions of the new health care law go into effect next January, including one that requires businesses with 50 or more full-time employees to pay for their health care or pay a penalty.
Some businesses may already be making personnel changes to save money when that provision of the Affordable Care Act kicks in. One option on the table: shifting full-time workers to part time.
Iceland has become the first country to elect members of parliament from the Pirate Party — an international online freedom movement.
Three Pirate Party MPs will take seats following historic polls in Iceland that saw a new coalition come to power on a promise of easing economic austerity measures.
According to The Associated Press:
"The conservative Independence Party and rural-based Progressive Party — who governed Iceland for decades before the 2008 [economic] crash — each had 19 seats in Iceland's 63-seat parliament, the Althingi. ...
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
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The head of the U.N. refugee agency says aid workers are not prepared for the possibility of chemical warfare in Syria. And as NPR's Michele Kelemen reports, that's just one of many concerns relief groups face in what they're calling the worst humanitarian disaster in decades.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block.
In Bangladesh today, crowds chanted hang him as the owner of a garment factory building was led into court. The eight-story building collapsed last week, killing some 400 workers. Hundreds more remain unaccounted for. It's the worst industrial accident ever in Bangladesh, and it comes just months after a factory fire there killed more than 100 garment workers.
Turkey and Israel are negotiating compensation for the families of nine activists. They were killed in 2010 when Israeli commandos boarded a Turkish aid ship off the Gaza coast. The talks are part of an effort to restore normal ties between the countries after a three-year chill. But some families of the aid ship victims say they won't accept compensation until Israel lifts restrictions on Gaza. NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Istanbul.
The Rockaways in Queens were one of the areas hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy last year. Much of the beach disappeared and the boardwalk was destroyed. A lot of houses and businesses were damaged and some were without power until February. Now life is beginning to return to normal, but as summer approaches a lot of people are worried about how much has been lost.
I didn't set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I'm happy to start the conversation. So begins an essay in the upcoming issue of Sports Illustrated, written by 34-year-old NBA center Jason Collins. And it's a big moment, not just for pro basketball but for all pro sports.
Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx has been nominated to head the U.S. Department of Transportation in President Obama's final term. What the soon-to-be 42-year old mayor lacks in transportation credentials, he makes up for in loyalty to the President and a shared vision of the need for better transit systems.
Three popular pesticides will soon be illegal in the European Union, where officials hope the change helps restore populations of honey bees, vital to crop production, to healthy levels. The new ban will be enacted in December.
"I pledge to do my utmost to ensure that our bees, which are so vital to our ecosystem and contribute over €22 billion ($28.8 billion) annually to European agriculture, are protected," said EU Health and Consumer Commissioner Tonio Borg.
In a compelling New York Times piece published last Friday, writer Yudhijit Bhattacharjee discusses the rise and fall of Diederik Stapel, a Dutch social psychologist who committed fraud in 55, or more, of his scientific papers.
While I have very little sympathy for Stapel, I was surprised to recognize the impulse behind his fabrication. Here's how the article explained it:
Patricia East is a developmental psychologist who began her career working at an OB-GYN clinic in California. Thursday mornings at the clinic were reserved for pregnant teens, and when East arrived the waiting room would be packed with them, chair after chair of pregnant adolescents.
It was in this waiting room, East explains, that she discovered her life's work — an accidental discovery that emerged from the small talk that staff at the clinic had with their young clients as they walked them back for checkups.