I completely agree, cyclo. I used to work as a salaried employee in a medical research lab at a university, with the same sort of conditions. When we were on a big project deadline, we'd all work intensely. When we weren't we would sometimes sit around sharing stories, the boss being the best storyteller; at one point, someone taught me how to play chess (not all in a few minutes, but over some weeks). We would also jaw on about the implications of our experiments, depending on how they came out, and background re the set ups. This involved several cups of coffee, and for most of us back then, a bunch of cigarette smoking.
That place had a good team going and we published a lot of good, sometimes important papers.
Later I became a landscape architect. Same thing, except I worked hourly - but most of us acted as salaried. As a project manager, I often worked all day and into the night to get projects out to beat deadlines. I rarely toted up all the hours, because we had made estimates to the client re hours in the first place and they were always more hours, the estimated hours being set both optimistically and with an eye to getting the job in the first place in a competitive field. On the other hand, on lazy assed days, I'd go for a long walk, or we'd all (seven architects including the boss) hang around and talk about, oh, sports cars, or vacations, some invention we'd heard of, whatever. Naturally, clients were not billed for any of that. Again, we all made a good team, many successful projects.
And later, on my own as a designer, and, even later, with another designer as a business partner, we worked as hard as we needed to at any given time, still never over billing, and sometimes taking off for a good long lunch. Once we cut out to go to an old bar down the street to watch the Kentucky Derby. Again, a good team.
There was a recent New York Times article that I think relates to and somewhat refutes this business quoted in the first post, if I understand that quote correctly.
Discovering the Virtues of a Wandering Mind
Anyway, save me from time management gurus!