The Office: A Look at the Cost of Wasted Time

Posted on August 13, 2018

“I am running away from my responsibilities. And it feels good.” – Michael Scott

Whether intentionally or unintentionally, employees in all levels of an organization waste time at work sometimes. Though the impact of the occasional coffee break is small, the cumulative effects of wasted time can be significant. After all, time lost is money lost.

Improving office worker productivity is key to accomplishing your organizational goals and increasing company profits. To determine how to increase productivity in the workplace, we’ve examined some of the best time wasters in the television show, “The Office.” Here are several takeaways you can apply to real-world time wasters.

Wasted Time Comes in Many Forms

Though many managers and executives believe employees only waste time intentionally, lost productivity comes in many different forms. Obvious time wasters include checking social media, arriving to work late and extensive chatting about things unrelated to work. Other more subtle time wasters include managing work email, changing work passwords and correcting miscommunication.

You can reduce the amount of time spent on non-obvious time wasters by listening to employees and making adjustments to streamline workflow, such as by reducing the amount of information you convey via email.

Individual Productivity Influences the Entire Company

One of the biggest messages on wasted time in “The Office” is that individual productivity loss influences people throughout the organization. When one person fails to finish a task, it prevents other employees from working efficiently. Many time wasters distract others directly, as well — office gossip, micromanagement and constant interruption all contribute to lost productivity.

To keep employees productive, it’s important to ensure everyone has the tools and freedom they need to work and communicate efficiently. This means trusting in employees’ skills, providing resources to answer commonly asked questions and simplifying office communication apps and tools.

Company Activities Can Be Time Wasters Too

Often, employees aren’t fully to blame for lost productivity. Company activities can waste time as well. Many company meetings, for example, take up valuable hours while providing little value.

You should only hold a meeting if it contributes to the accomplishment of a specific goal. Listen to employees. Ask them what types of meetings help them perform their jobs more effectively and which do not. If a certain type of meeting has low attendance, find out why. If you have a meeting scheduled and cannot define its purpose easily, think about using that time more productively.

Staffing Plays an Essential Role in Productivity

Staffing decisions greatly influence productivity. When an office is over-staffed, employees waste time because they don’t have enough to do, reducing morale and wasting money. When an office is under-staffed, on the other hand, employees can become overwhelmed and stressed as they try to juggle a number of different tasks, which can also damage productivity.

Disengaged workers cost the United States between $450 and $550 billion every year. To maximize engagement and office worker productivity, you need to hire people whose skills, interests and goals align with the company and the position. Companies looking to find highly productive workers might turn to IT staffing agencies.

Every office has time wasters, even yours. You know who they are. People who, like Michael Scott, are always running away from their responsibilities. When it comes time to hire new talent for your company, you want to avoid hiring those people. Fortunately, The Computer Merchant is here to help. We have 40 years of experience screening through the time wasters to provide quality IT talent. Contact us to learn more about our complete portfolio of tech staffing services for clients across the U.S. Call (800) 617-6172 for one of our representatives to assist you.