Disorganized Workers Cost Employers Time and Money

Cluttered desks, disorganized email folders, and lost files seem to be taken for granted in the workplace. But all that time searching for lost information and playing phone tag adds up to a lot of costly, unproductive time.

For example:

  • The average American spends almost 4 minutes searching for lost keys, television remote controls, mobile telephones, and other items every time one of the little suckers sprouts legs and walks off.
  • Four minutes may not sound like a long time, but the minutes add up. If a person misplaces his wallet once every week, he would spend 3.5 hours each year trying to hunt the darn thing down.
  • Americans who consider themselves as “extremely organized” spend as little as 1 minute and 18 seconds finding misplaced items while adults who say they are not organized at all take up to 8.5 minutes to locate a missing item.
  • In the average small business, each staff member spends at least 3 to 5 hours per week looking for information. At an hourly rate of $12 per hour that adds up to over $2,800 per employee per annum. Even worse, can you afford to hire and retain employees who spend 15 percent of their work week looking for misplaced information?

Even with widespread computer usage, 70% of all documentation remains paper based. The average usable life-span of a document is only 30 to 90 days. Often they are never accessed again after this time. Office space is at a premium though – and the more files you have the more space required which leaves less space for additional staff members to grow your business and/or higher rent for storage space.

Disorganization might be ignored if it wasn’t for the big price tag hidden beneath the piles. If you cannot answer a client’s request immediately, the cost is staggering and frightening! Did you know that telephone tag costs could cost you more than $6,500 per employee in unproductive time even if that employee spends only one hour on the phone daily.

And possibly the most expensive is the 25% of all clients who are lost due to poor response to requests. If you have 1,000 clients, then you’re losing on average 250 clients a year, at a costs ranging from $25,000 to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Organization is an essential competency. With more demands being placed on limited resources in nearly every organization today, time wasted finding and re- finding information costs lots of money. With cutbacks, resignations and retirements, critical information is walking out the door every day. Adding employee  screening tests for organizational skills could improve productivity and add dollars to the bottom line.

This article originally appeared in The Total View, a weekly online newsletter that focuses on hiring, management and retention strategies. The Total View is written and published by Ira S. Wolfe, president of Success Performance Solutions and is distributed with permission by The Chrysalis Corporation. Subscribe for FREE to The Total View by typing your e-mail address in the newsletter sign-up box on the right side of this page.

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