If employee metrics focus on what is important to the firm-that is, what people actually accomplish-then most everything works itself out. On the other hand, if metrics focus on how long someone is in the office or what he does while on company property, particularly when he may actually be most productive at home, the resulting policies could do more harm than good.
In today's connected world, the only thing that's really important is whether and employee is worth what he or she is being paid and behaving within the ethical construct the company and industry requires. Some employee monitoring is necessary, of course, as some activities clearly can't be allowed on company grounds. However, getting too invasive will break the productivity advantages you're likely taking for granted and drive away those who are the most productive. Since IT is often the first budget to be cut in a downturn, preventing a decision that would drive a downturn is in your best interest.
Rob Enderle is president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group. Previously, he was the Senior Research Fellow for Forrester Research and the Giga Information Group. Prior to that he worked for IBM and held positions in Internal Audit, Competitive Analysis, Marketing, Finance and Security. Currently, Enderle writes on emerging technology, security and Linux for a variety of publications and appears on national news TV shows that include CNBC, FOX, Bloomberg and NPR.
Read more about time management/productivity in CIO's Time Management/Productivity Drilldown.