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ESSAY OF THE WEEK


Question
The following appeared in the business section of a local newspaper:

"The design of office space has a direct impact on productivity. In the three months prior to moving to its newly designed office space, Excelsior Widget Company employees billed 33% of their working hours to customer projects. In the three months following the move, the same employees billed 45% of their time to customer projects."

Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion, be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument.

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 Submitted Essays
jose: 10/21/2008
jmbulnes@gmail.com
   
Bryan: 10/22/2008
I find this argument to have good potential. This is based on whether an increase in hours spent on customer projects is in fact relevant to an overall increase in productivity. One could argue that people may be spending more time on customer projects and less time on other projects all the while keeping the same amount of time being unproductive. If the employees spent less time on say company projects and moved that time to customer projects, the worker would still be equally productive.
The author should explain the productivity of 100% of their working hours and not just the 45%. If the author does not want to go into such detail, just simply mention that customer projects are the only criteria for productivity.

Going off of what the author stated in the beginning, one would wonder what kind of design improvements helped and specifically in what areas. Without getting too in-depth the author could mention that workers had less distractions because of the removal of a faulty air conditioning system.

Overall, the author just needs a little clarification on what the design changes would mean and what is the basis of productivity at his company. Doing both of these would make his argument as solid as possible.
   
jav: 10/24/2008
It is natural than human-being is impacted by beautiful design and colour.Good design will make him feel more comfortable and ease in working.But apart from this we cannot neglect other aspects which aid in productivity and performance.

Better conditions and facilities can let a person work for more hours but for better productivity and performance one need better working condition ans better support from his company.

Also for analyzing better productivity and performance single project cannot be taken into consideration we have to take all the aspects and projects.
   
Tayten: 5/26/2011
Very true! Makes a chgane to see someone spell it out like that. :)
   
hhetur: 5/28/2011
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Essay Answer 

Reference Essay

The reader cannot conclude that moving into new office space improved productivity. There may be many explanations for the drop in productivity prior to the office move. First, moving is disruptive to a business. Workers may have been distracted by the impending move, or may have had to reduce the amount of customer work they do to prepare for the move.

Second, it is possible that the business chose to move during a natural slowdown in the work cycle to minimize the impact of the move. In this case productivity would have dropped anyway. Third, the workers may have reduced the amount of work prior to the move or delayed certain tasks, then increased their productivity after the move to make up for the earlier slowdown. Fourth, customers who knew of the move may have delayed submitting work orders until the move was complete. Fifth, Excelsior's old space may have been unsuitable for the work being done there, meaning that their production may have been constrained by their old space moreso than being enabled by their new space.

The conclusion that productivity increased would be better supported by indications that the incoming work had also increased. This may be an indicator of improved workflow. The conclusion may also be supported by an indication from Excelsior's customers that they are now receiving their orders faster than they did prior to the move. Third, an examination of productivity over a longer period of time well after the move may better support the conclusion that the new space design increased productivity. Finally, an explanation of exactly how the new space design contributes to increased productivity may better support the item's conclusion.
 
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