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. iStockphoto.com hide caption

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An employee serves customers at an Olive Garden restaurant in Naperville, Ill. Darden Restaurants, the chain's parent company, pilot-tested shifting more of its workers to part time. But following that test, and after considerable backlash, the chain said it would not reduce hours or cut its full-time staffing. Scott Boehm/AP Images for Olive Garden hide caption

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Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. (left), leads a news conference about the Marketplace Fairness Act on Tuesday. The legislation would provide states with the authority to require out-of-state retailers to collect and remit taxes on purchases shipped into the states. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

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After an unsuccessful face-lift attempt by Ron Johnson, J.C. Penney will be led by former CEO Myron Ullman. Some analysts say this might be it for the retailer; others say it must "embrace" its customers to recuperate. Mary Altaffer/AP hide caption

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Home Depot is hiring 80,000 employees for its spring season. As the housing market picks up, other industry sectors — like gardening, construction and furniture — move upward, too. Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Workers and labor organizers in New York City protest the alleged exploitation of students on J-1 summer work travel visas who worked at a Pennsylvania McDonald's, on Thursday. Jess Jiang/NPR hide caption

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