Are you treating your staff like robots?

By - 23 Feb 2012

Toy robots

Do people in your office work from 9am to around 5.30pm with a short break for lunch? They probably work much later than that, but let’s just take that as an example. So, when you’re doing your resource planning, you can book them for around 7.5 hours per day, right? Wrong! Let’s work this out.

On a good day

Deductions  Hours Available
9am-5.30pm 8h 30m
Lunch (it’s good practice to allow people an hour, even if they don’t take it) 1h 7h 30m
Tea, coffee, water, smoking breaks (4 x 15m) 1h 6h 30m
Distractions – chatting (how dare they), emails, Facebook, phone calls, instant messaging etc etc 30m 6h
Toilet breaks (yep, this is a reality so I’m including it – a conservative 2 x 10m) 20m 5h 40m
TOTAL 5h 40m

 

That’s right, 5h 40m if they leave “on time.” But they don’t—I wonder why?

On a bad day

Deductions Hours Available
9am-5.30pm 8h 30m
Delays getting to work (traffic, train delays etc) 20m 8h 10m
Computer problems (we’ve all had them) 40m 7h 30m
Lunch 1h 6h 30m
Tea, coffee, water, smoking breaks (4 x 15m) 1h 5h 30m
Distractions 1h 4h 30m
Toilet breaks 20m 4h 10m
TOTAL 4h 10m

 

4h 10m! OK, so the last example might be a bit extreme but lots of us have had days like this.

testimonial-ogilvy

Distractions

Distractions, especially, are not to be underestimated. I once worked in an office where the entire creative department would play “shove ha’penny” just to decide whose turn it was to make the tea! This exercise would take around 15 mins each time. And they drank a lot of tea!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it should be all work, work, work. But we need to be realistic about how much time there is in a day for constructive work. It’s not as much as you might think.

Why do projects fail?

There are lots of reasons projects fail and I believe this is one of the biggest. Project Managers base their project plans on unrealistic productivity. The kind of productivity you might get from a robot. People simply do not do 7 hours work per day unless they work late. And this is precisely why so many of us do end up working late. Because the project plans are unrealistic.

We’ve designed Resource Guru to ensure that you can specify realistic daily availability for your resources. We believe this will lead to projects that have a better chance of success and staff who will feel less like robots.

What’s the maximum amount of time you can book resources in your office? Does all this ring a bell with you? I’d love to hear, so please comment below!

Learn more realistic approaches to project scheduling in our free guide to resource management

Hi, I'm Andrew, one of the co-founders of Resource Guru. Please feel free to leave comments or get in touch - I'd love to hear from you.