How Much Does Poor Workplace Productivity Cost Your Company?

A recent study by Captivate’s Office Pulse found that the 2018 Winter Olympics cost U.S. business $1.7 billion in lost productivity due to companies watching the games during work

Consider this scenario: Jane owns a profitable trading company of clothing lines imported from choice locations around the world. She has 23 employees and has been in business since 2002. Since her office staff of 10 are sitting at their computer all day conducting research and completing sales or customer service activity to keep production moving, so they are busy at their desk (or are they?). It’s a highly competitive industry that requires everyone make a full contribution in order for the company to prosper.

Recently it came to Jane’s attention that some of her employees may be “goofing off” at work which on a small basis seemed trivial, but when taken together over the course of a year proved to be extremely detrimental to her bottom line profitability. For example:

    1. Simon (sports fan): he has won athletic medals in skiing for both downhill and cross country. An avid fan since childhood he was not going to miss anything on the Winter 2018 Olympics just because of a time difference and estimates it will only take about 30 minutes per day during his lunch break. Closer examination by the supervisor revealed he was checking this site throughout the day and estimated at more like 1.5 hours daily.
    1. Olga (online shopper): she loves her shoes. Every month it seems she is showing off a new pair and staff laughed she must have a an entire house for them now! Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Zappos are among her favorites. But joking aside, while her taste for fashion is impressive it was determined by her manager about 1 hour per day was set aside for online shopping and that was outside her lunch break.
  1. Susan (social media): she is highly sociable. Knows everyone and almost everything happening behind the scenes. At one point she even considered a career as a reporter with Entertainment Tonight. Whether it was looking at family pictures on Facebook,watching funny videos on YouTube or exchanging messages on Instagram, she never misses a beat. Trouble is: it was on company time and no less than 30 minutes per day.
  2. Sam (stock market guru): he has tripled his portfolio in the past 4 months in part from the cryptocurrency crash earlier this year and buying at the right time. His focus remains on Bitcoin and Ethereum, but Ripple and EOS are playing a deciding role. Fortunately, he can keep on top of thing by having these sites running in the background and simply check them once an hour for 5 minutes. According to his manager doing routine spot checks it’s estimated more like 5 minutes per site per hour. That’s 20 minutes per hour or 33% of his work day!

All told Jane estimates these employees cost her upwards of 5.5 hours per day in lost productivity. Based on an average wage of $25 per hour that’s $137.50 per day or $2,750 per month or $33,000 per year! And that’s just the ones she choose to do period spot checks on. If the entire office staff of 10 fall into this category, then she is looking at 2.5 times this or $82,500 per year. In addition, the supervisor’s time to check up on employees was estimated at another $7,000 bringing the grand total to almost $90,000 per year! She could use that money for marketing and production to make her company more competitive and profitable.

Fortunately, there is software out there to monitor employee activity in real time and some will even notify managers when an alert has been triggered, so they don’t spend their valuable time monitoring employee screens while being able to investigate productivity issues on the spot as they arise.

Ask yourself: how much money are you losing to lost employee productivity and what are you going to do about it?

-Steve Marshall is a contributing author on cybersecurity

Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash

August 13th, 2018