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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Contrarian View on $130-Billion in 'Lost' Productivity

The folks at CFO magazine are up in arms about a report that there's an annual cost of about $130 billion to U.S. companies from employees who spend at least an hour at work each week doing something other than work.

That figure reflects 61 percent in a survey who said that they actually spend about two hours a week not working at their jobs.

Frankly, we're surprised that these numbers -- and, thus, the concomitant "damage" from productivity losses -- aren't a lot higher. We think the actual time spent by employees on non-company-related activities at work probably far exceeds one or two hours.

Who doesn't spend at least that much time each week, combined, at the water cooler, checking their personal smartphones, drinking a cup of coffee or a Vitaminwater each day and using the restrooms?

And anyway, one component of this report, a survey of 3,200 employees by Salary.com, identified meetings as the biggest time-waster in the office, in their opinion. That especially applies, we might add, to meetings that are so unproductive that they could count as "nonwork activities"!

Instead of emphasizing nitpicking of their employees' time each day and week to make sure the "wasted" hours don't add up, we urge companies to focus on how to help their employees become so engaged in supporting their brands and doing their jobs that productivity skyrockets and success abounds.

Truly engaged employees, operating in a corporate culture that emphasizes and rewards that engagement, are the key to long-term success.

And with success, management doesn't need to concern itself about a game of Solitaire here and there.

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