Maintaining an efficient practice is no easy feat. Even though you can’t control everything that goes on at your practice, there are technological advances you can make to boost efficiency. For instance, submitting orders to spectacle lens suppliers online reduces duplicate work and time-wasting phone calls.
But, no matter how many productivity safeguards you have in place, employees inevitably get sidetracked or engage in non-work related matters, resulting in an efficiency nose dive. Our friends at The Optical Vision Site realized the implications of time-wasters and had some great ideas on how to address them. So, are you employing a time thief?
Dealing With Time Thieves
This is one of my pet peeves, people doing personal business at work. So irritating. Back in 2009 we wrote a post on Employee Time Theft and I thought I would run it again, as the issue keeps coming up over and over. So what is a time thief at work?
Time Theft comprises of the following:
- Late arrival, early departure, long lunches
- Sick days when not sick
- Creating Overtime when not needed
- Personal business at work, including personal phone calls, Internet, Facebook, texting
- Over socializing with friends and workers
- Conducting other business at work
- The Boston Globe and Denver Post reported that US companies lose nearly $400 billion per year in lost productively due to 'time theft' or loafing.
- Robert Half conducted surveys which concluded the average employee steals 4.5 hours/week in time.
- Other surveys say: 64% of respondents report wasting one hour or less each day at work, which is, let’s say “acceptable”. 22% waste approximately 2 hours daily, and 14% waste 3 or more hours each workday.
- The primary-time wasting activity is surfing the Web (48%) followed by socializing with co-workers (33%).
- 30% waste time by conducting personal business
- 19% waste time by personal phone calls
- 15% waste time by taking long lunch breaks.
- 8% of companies have dismissed employees because of time spent on sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook. See Note to Self Talking About Your Boss on Facebook. (True Story)
- Outright costs- Let’s just say the average employee steals an average of 1 hour/week or 50 hours/year. You pay employees $10.00/hour with benefits or other perks. That equates to $5,000 a year x 3 employees or $15,000 a year in lost time and money.
- Loss of patients- Whenever I am in a store and employees are stealing time, I leave without making a purchase. As a consumer you can tell. You can tell when employees are texting and making personal phone calls. You can see employees in a huddle on the sales floor.
- Loss of morale- Nothing is worse when you have a hard working person who has to pick up the slack for a time thief.
- Loss of respect- If you can't control time thieves due to bad management, lack of enforcing policies, staff loses respect. Lack of respect leads to apathetic environment.
- Higher prices- For every consumer.
- Make sure your company policy and employee manual clearly state the rules and policies of personal business, personal phone calls, tardiness, texting, and internet use. If employees are using Facebook and Twitter for company business, make sure that is clearly stated. The policies should be stated and employees should sign off on it.
- Have a staff meeting to review and go over all policies and procedures and the reasons for those rules.
- If you have set up an Internet monitoring or filtering system, let your staff know. This gives them the responsibility to follow the rules. As an employer you have every right to monitor the Internet, voice mail, and phone calls in your office. However under federal law, once an employer knows the call is personal, they cannot monitor the call. The employer has the right to prohibit the dialing and websites of certain phone calls and addresses.
- If you have an employee that is not following the rules- speak to them privately.
- If an employee is wasting time due to not having enough to do- set up areas of responsibilities. One of the key elements in productivity is job satisfaction. Work with the employee for professional growth.
- 25% of employees say they waste time because they are underpaid. OK- Every person is accountable and responsible for their own job satisfaction and growth. If they feel underpaid- then they should address that by increasing job skills or personal growth or rectify that situation with the employer or find a job elsewhere.
- Keep employees motivated by giving praise, thanking them for a job well-done- Reward or bonus them for achievement of goals. It is always better to focus on the positive and reward.
- Nothing working? Consider installing time clocks.
Stop time thieves in their tracks and keep your practice efficiency from plummeting!