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The Modern Workplace

Week in Review

Sick of hearing about the gloom and doom associated with technology? Me too. That is why this Week in Review will be decidedly more positive, focusing on recent studies about the ways technology can enhance the workplace.

First up: telecommuting. Nearly 4,000 employees -- or 66.3% -- of the US Patent Office do it. With numbers like that, there must be some serious benefits to allowing employees to work remotely. Examples reported in this article include less sick and administrative leave taken, more hours put in (on average, 66.3 more hours per year for telecommuting Patent Office employees), and saved office rental costs ($17 million a year for the Patent Office). Telecommuting may not be an appropriate option for every job, but it just might be worth it to find out.

Another way to harness technological benefits for the workplace: use Facebook to recruit. That is what Hard Rock Cafe of Florence did in 2011 when it created a Facebook page for its restaurant, ran targeted ads, and received applications via the social media site. The restaurant was able to hire a full staff of rock and roll lovers in four weeks and for only $2000. A word of caution to interested employers: reading profile information of applicants could land you in hot water.

Technology and the Workplace
Telecommuting is the Norm at the US Patent Office (ABA Journal) (Washington Post)
Lifeguard-Style Gangnam Spoof Video Got 14 California Lifeguards Fired (Huffington Post)
With Facebook, Your Recruitment Pool is One Billion People (Forbes)
Lenders, Small Businesses Go Online to Find Mate (Star Tribune)
Court Grants Access to Plaintiff's Social Media in Discrimination Case (Employer Handbook)

Technology and the Law
Minnesota Woman Loses Music Downloading Appeal (La Crosse Tribune) (Thomson Reuters) 
6th Circuit Nixes Lie-Detecting MRI in Criminal Case (ABA Journal)
Cops Might Finally Need a Warrant to Read Your Gmail (Huffington Post)
House Approves Sweeping, Warrantless Electronic Spy Powers (Wired)
District Court Rules that Wiretap Act Does Not Prohibit Intercepting Unencrypted Wireless Communications (Volokh Conspiracy)
Facebook Photo Leads to Mistrial in Murder Case (La Crosse Tribune)

There's an App for That
New App Calculates Alimony and Divorce Payments in Massachusetts (ABA Journal)
Apple Unveils Faster, Thinner, iPhone 5 (CNN)
"Please Don't Stalk Me" Sites Help You Lie About Your Location on Twitter (NBC)
17-Year-Old Girl Invents Heart Exam for Cellphones (NBC)
Top 4 Apps to "Gamify" Your Business (PC World)

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