Lets make sure we ‘re clear on something before we actually get into this, there is a huge difference between busy work, and being busy at work. I can remember being in school and the teachers would give the class a puzzle, or a game to play so they could keep us quiet and they could do things they needed to do. There were even those occasions where the movie that really had nothing to do with the lesson would come out. Obviously as a child I thought this was great, however as I got older I realised what a waste of time this was. Now this is not a knock on teachers, as I have great relationships with those that are truly passionate about shaping the world around us to make it better, I have used them in this illustration to make a point. And if there is anyone who doubts where I am coming from, ask around and find out how many teachers are actually teaching corriculum the day before summer vacation.
Through university and through my working career, I continued to notice the same thing, “useless paperwork,” and in the business world it’s worse than anywhere else. Now in education the idea of busy work acts kind of like a training to reinforce what has been learned from a lesson (I always thought this was the purpose of homework but what do i know) however in business its something way more sinister.
In the business world busy work is simply away of keeping up appearances to make yourself look like you are hard at work. As a business owner, if you aren’t aware that this practice is happening then you are literally throwing money away. Oh, and don’t be naive and think your employees are different, because they aren’t. In fact, there is actually an article which you can read here (hide behind busy work) that gives you a list of steps to look like you are hard at work without actually doing any work.
Now if that isn’t enough to get you interested in what’s really going on in your departments, then how about this for a thought. Say you have a customer service department that has five people in it, and out of those five, four are doing great work and the other one is just doing bare minimum. How much are you paying that person each year to do bare minimum? The standard approach is usually to find a way to get rid of that person and everything in theory works out. However, I don’t believe that works anymore. If you get rid of that person, even if the other four were unhappy and wanted them gone, they very quickly how fragile their own positions really are and the great work falls to okay work, because fear has now set in. Considering the changes in how business is done, especially with customer service, wouldn’t it make more since to keep that fifth person, and force them to raise there level of commitment and work ethic to match the others?
Nowadays there are very few business tasks that can’t be tracked, so even if someone is trying to look like they are busy at work, you will know exactly what they are doing and when they are doing it. With many businesses realizing that they ned to focus on a solid online presecnce to compete in todays business world, having your staff implement certain aspects of your overall marketing strategy can be a great way to overcome this problem, because then, everything they do is trackable, and it serves the purpose of helping the business to gain more qualified leads daily.
If you need help trying to figure out what tasks can be given to your employees, or you want better soloutions to track productivity, give us a call today to stop busy work for good.