Monday, January 7, 2013

Downtime and employee focus

In all places of work, there will be periods where people will have downtime. Conventional wisdom states that "idle hands are the devil's playthings". This might well be true if someone cannot channel their energies in an appropriate direction. To get around this problem many organisations try to optimize on efficiency to achieve the mythical 100% utilization. That way no-one will have downtime and be unconstructive, right? 

This might be possible for machines, but not people. We don't operate the same one day to the next and you can't predict how someone will be feeling on a specific day. Perhaps they didn't get enough sleep; perhaps they're having problems at home. In addition, organisational slack helps businesses adapt better when their market shifts and more.

Coming back to downtime, clearly a company doesn't want people sitting around doing nothing. I can understand that. If an organisation lives their values and has worked hard to engage the employee in their work, then that opens up the possibility of the employee using that downtime for the benefit of the company. The problem comes when the employee isn't engaged with their work.

Let's focus more on engaging employees rather than trying to keep them busy.

Do you agree or disagree?

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