Employees work within regular hours or contracts. But they’re not always properly engaged when they’re meant to be. As a matter of fact, many employees end up wasting a lot of company time doing frivolous things, like overly socialising, spending too much time surfing the internet or doing personal tasks during work hours. Somewhat ironically, these problems tend to only get worse if more demands are made; employees feel overburdened and work less efficiently.
As companies work to accomplish goals and meet deadlines today then, they also need to focus on maximising resource in ways that are productive for all involved. Below, we’ll explore the cost of failing to do this, as well as how to avoid the problem.
The Cost of Wasted Resources
Many companies don’t realise that monetarily, when added up, the cost of wasted resources can be enormous. Entrepreneur points out that 89% of employees waste time, and some estimates have suggested that this costs companies billions over time. In terms of pure immediate-term productivity, aspects of a job go unfinished when resource is wasted; deadlines might not be met, sales might not be finalised, and orders might not be fulfilled.
Another consequence that many organisations seem to miss is the effect on the company’s workplace culture. As is memorably discussed in the book “A Company of Owners”, a workplace’s culture suffers when employees aren’t properly engaged. While there are different levels of engagement, to be sure, this book conveys the significance of creating an “employee ownership culture” wherein employees oversee their duties. In essence, they “own” their work and are fully responsible for hitting milestones delivering successful results. Without this sort of ownership though, employees can feel disconnected from workplace goals, which contributes to a poor and unproductive company culture.
How To Avoid It
Since the cost of wasted resource can be so high, the prudent thing to do is to figure out how to minimise or avoid waste altogether. As a manager, one thing you can focus on is “getting the right things done”.” This sounds a lot like common sense, but as it’s framed in Peter F. Drucker’s book “The Effective Executive”, it amounts to a proactive solution to maximising resource. The idea, in short, is to focus on knowing where and how to mobilise strengths to accomplish both regular and overlooked tasks in order of priority.
Additionally, Drucker notes that many organisations spend lots of time doing things that don’t need to be done. He recommends for leaders to ask, “What would happen if you hadn’t done it?” If the answer is nothing, then stop doing it. This is what he means by focus on “getting the right things done”.
In addition to prioritisation and getting the right things done, effective communication is crucial for success. And when it comes to resource management, it’s important to remember that effective communication usually means efficient communication. Our previous article “4 Keys to Unlock Workplace Productivity” discussed the idea that reducing emails and meetings can help increase efficiency, for instance. The idea here is for management to convey what’s necessary, but not take up too much of the employees’ time. If employees spend less time in meetings, they can spend more time on major tasks.
Set clear expectations
Finally, it’s also important that expectations are made clear. When this is not done, employees operate based on assumptions, or guesswork. They may operate off of their own ideas regarding deadlines, priorities, and expectations. These inefficiencies can be eliminated, however, if you make a habit of clarifying expectations. Make sure that employees always know what’s required of them, and you’ll be less likely to see wasted resource.
Human resource is a company’s most valuable asset. It is thus every company’s objective to maximise said resource to its greatest potential. By taking the recommendations above to heart, every leader can decrease the likelihood of these issues, and improve productivity, employee satisfaction, and company culture all at once.
Authored by Roslyn Janet