The Value of Time

Time is an invaluable resource that businesses often overlook when evaluating their long-term productivity and sales goals. You’d likely be shocked by the amount of time wasted on a daily basis within even the most seemingly efficient businesses because it often comes in small packages (in other words, little chunks of time here and there that add up to big losses later.)

By identifying and eliminating time waste within your own organization (no matter how trivial the minutes or hours may seem), you can optimize your workflows, enhance productivity and sales, maximize efficiencies, and improve overall customer and employee satisfaction.

In this article, we’ll cover the common areas in which time waste occurs, the importance of addressing time waste within your organization, and actionable strategies you can use to determine the sources of time waste within your company.

Jan also discusses the importance of maximizing your productivity and making the most of your time in her book, Work Smart Do More. If you’d like more on this topic after reading this post, you can find her book on Amazon in paperback, eBook, and audiobook formats.

How Much Time is Wasted Annually?

Determining the exact amount of time wasted within a company each year isn’t cut and dry–it varies greatly depending on the industry, company size, organizational culture, processes and structure, and individual employee work habits. However, numerous studies and reports provide insights into time wastage trends in the workplace, including a few of our own case studies.

Meetings: Meetings are often cited as a significant source of time waste. According to a survey conducted by, around 47% of employees considered meetings to be the biggest time waster at work. Research suggests that ineffective meetings can consume a substantial portion of employees’ time, with estimates ranging from 15% to 35% of total work time.

In Work Smart Do More, Jan offers this example of how inefficient meetings can be a financial drain on your company if not kept in check:

“Let’s say you have a weekly meeting for a staff of six people that normally goes for two hours but really could be done in one hour. For the sake of easy math, let’s say that each employee is paid $35 per hour.

There are 52 weeks in a year, so that’s 52 wasted hours of time per employee, give or take. Totaling that up—35 × 6 × 52—you find that the longer meetings are costing you an additional $10,920 per year. And that’s just the time wasted sitting in a chair!

It doesn’t take into account the impact of missed opportunities:

  • Fewer sales calls and prospects
  • Fewer product designs or enhancements

Oh, and let’s not forget the broader issues that arise when you have a culture of long, ineffective meetings:

  • Increased stress levels and subsequent health care costs associated with that stress
  • Decreased employee engagement
  • High turnover and the cost of recruiting and training new employees

Am I done yet? Nope. We can’t forget the impacts of wasted time on you, the leader of the organization:

Spending time—you and/or your HR team—on performance and productivity issues
Lost time you could have spent on process improvement, development, and company growth

As the famous business consultant Peter Drucker said, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” The impact of wasted time is tangible, meaning the sooner you identify your biggest time wasters, the sooner you’ll be able to fix them and see concrete impact on your bottom line.”

Process Inefficiencies: Inefficient, bulky, or redundant processes can eat up a surprising amount of your employees’ time and take them away from the bigger fish they should be frying–for example, sales.

In one of our recent case studies, an engineering client of ours earned a whopping 54 days back for their sales team by addressing time waste issues. It originally took them 30 minutes per day to check the status on each project for a client. After working with CTC Productivity to improve their workflow, it now takes them 5 minutes per day. This team has a total of 4 sales representatives. When you annualize a 25-minute savings per day for 4 people, it adds up to a total of 54 days.

Email and Communication: Excessive email usage and inefficient communication practices can also contribute to time waste. According to a study by McKinsey, employees spend as much as 28% of their workweek reading and responding to emails. Furthermore, distractions caused by instant messaging, phone calls, and unnecessary interruptions can significantly impact productivity and result in time waste.

Multitasking and Distractions: Multitasking, while often perceived as a productivity booster, can lead to time waste and decreased efficiency. Research by the APA (American Psychological Association) suggests that switching between tasks can reduce productivity by up to 40%. Distractions from social media, personal phone calls, or non-work-related internet browsing can further contribute to lowered productivity.

Poor Planning and Organization: Inadequate planning and organizational skills can result in time wasted on redundant or low-priority tasks. Procrastination, lack of clear goals, and failure to prioritize effectively can impede productivity and cost you money.

Identifying Time Waste within Your Organization

While it is difficult to provide an exact average of the amount of time wasted across all organizations, estimates suggest that employees may spend a significant portion of their work time on non-essential activities, ranging from several hours to even multiple days each month. The first step towards efficient time management is to identify areas of waste within your organization. You can implement any/all of the following:

  • Conduct internal assessments
  • Provide a survey for your employees to fill out
  • Implement time tracking exercises
  • Hire an expert (like CTC) to help you assess the areas of waste within your organization

These methods can help identify specific areas of time waste and provide insights for implementing targeted strategies to maximize productivity.

As mentioned above, time waste can manifest in various forms, including unnecessary or ineffective meetings, inefficient workflows, excessive email communication, redundant tasks, and poor planning. We recommend conducting a thorough analysis of your business processes to pinpoint these time-wasting elements. And don’t forget to encourage open communication with your employees to gain insights into their daily routines and challenges, as they are often the best source of information.

Boosting Morale Can Reduce Turnover Rates & Disengagement

Cutting back on time waste has a direct impact on employee morale. When employees are constantly bogged down with unproductive tasks, frustration and dissatisfaction can arise. This can lead to:

  • Decreased motivation
  • Increased turnover rates
  • A negative work environment
  • Less time spent on projects that positively affect your bottom line

By prioritizing efficient time management, you demonstrate your commitment to employee well-being, allowing them to focus on meaningful and challenging work. Recognizing and rewarding employees who exhibit efficient time management practices can further boost morale and create a positive work culture.

What does this mean for your bottom line? It means you’ll have less turnover and fewer disengaged employees, meaning you’ll spend less time hiring new resources and training them. A more engaged workforce also means more time spent on the work that matters (sales!), faster responses to market trends, increased agility, experimenting with creative solutions, and exploring new ideas for the future of the company.

Employee Morale & Time Management Affect Customer Satisfaction

Customers value companies that respond promptly, deliver on time, and provide exceptional service. By eliminating time waste, you free up resources and energy that can be directed towards meeting customer needs and exceeding their expectations. Efficient processes and streamlined workflows ensure that customer inquiries are addressed promptly, orders are fulfilled efficiently, and issues are resolved swiftly. By prioritizing time management, you demonstrate your commitment to providing excellent customer experiences.

Ways You Can Improve Productivity in Your Company

Time wasted on non-essential tasks hampers your employees’ ability to focus on crucial projects and goals. Some ways you can encourage enhanced productivity within your organization include:

  • Streamlining your workflows
  • Investing in technology that supports your company goals
  • Automating repetitive processes
  • Empowering employees with the necessary tools, resources, and training to work more efficiently
  • Fostering a culture of productivity by modeling the productivity you’d like to see, setting clear expectations, providing regular feedback, and encouraging collaboration

When individuals and teams are empowered to work efficiently, the entire organization benefits. If you don’t know where to start when it comes to improving your time management, we recommend hiring a professional to help you. CTC Productivity would be happy to help you maximize your time and make the most of your technology for a better overall culture.

In today’s fast-paced business landscape, efficient time management is crucial for sustainable growth and success. By identifying and cutting back on time waste within your company, you unlock your organization’s true potential. And remember: Involve your employees in the process. They play a pivotal role in identifying areas of improvement and implementing efficient time management. You can do this!

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