How many times a day do you and your colleagues stop and interrupt a co-worker or supervisor to ask a question or get help in performing a basic task? Or how much time do you waste searching for a work instruction or procedure on your company's intranet, HR system, or SharePoint site?
According to a report in Time Magazine, on a typical day, workers are interrupted about seven times an hour! That’s 56 interruptions a day, and 80% of them are considered trivial. According to a study by Basex Research, interruptions cost the U.S. economy $588 billion a year. Coworker interruptions are a big productivity drain.
In our own research performing operations consulting to organizations across industries, we have found employees in typical organizations spend an average of 10% of their days consulting with co-workers and supervisors for help performing routine tasks. That amounts to 45 minutes a day spread across a 7.5-hour workday. If you have a 300-employee company with an average composite wage of $20/hr, that time rapidly adds up to a labor cost of $1,080,000 a year!
Organizations that have a clear system of standardized procedures available to employees in easy-to-access operations manuals can dramatically reduce the cost of interruptions, work stoppages, and lost productivity throughout their companies. When employees can simply look up the answer quickly and reliably, they complete their work more efficiently without interrupting others, and that saves the entire organization.