Fun at Work on the Wane

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This week’s Labor Department report of an 8.1% growth rate in US productivity, much of it attributable to the services sector of the economy, is supposed to be good news.

Tell that to the management of FunAtWork.com, a web-based company whose profitability depends on workers being able to goof off on the job.

“It’s potentially devastating to our business. With each expansion in productivity, our revenue drops,” says T. Card, FunatWork.com’s CEO.”Like so many other industries, we may have to consider outsourcing. We’re currently investigating the possibility of sending fun and frivolity overseas.”

There was a time when FunatWork.com had a bright future. The company enjoyed a healthy profit from sales of its line of “Fun From Nine to Five” accessories, and plenty of hits on its interactive web site, which offers tips for making the work environment more pleasurable. But today, with output per hour worked rising at a rapid pace, employees have no time for fun at the office.

“It’s all work, work, work,” says a stock broker who declined to give his name. “I can’t remember the last time I was actually able to finish a computer game.”

Workers may be stressed over having to produce more while watching those in surrounding cubicles lose their jobs, but economists and industry leaders are heralding the improvement.

When told that Alan Greenspan seemed pleased about the rate of productivity growth, Mr. Card sniffed, “It’s not surprising. He has a history of being opposed to exuberance.”

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