Inflated Costs and Productivity

I will leave it to the fine folks at Stop Blocking! to skewer the latest report about the “cost” of social networking to business.

I really couldn’t do it any better, but I do want to take a moment and do some math for you.

According to the article, the hour each day an employee spends on social networking site costs ““$10,375 of wasted productivity per person annually”. Which is interesting, and sounds really, really scary.

Except it’s completely disconnected from the real world. In the real world, most people do not put in 8 full hours of non-stop productivity in an 8 hour work day. There are bathroom breaks, brief conversations with coworkers, phone calls, emails, getting up and stretching your legs, etc. All of those things occur during the course of the day, and for most of us, a 40 hour work week is pretty laughable. So, if anything, we’re looking at social networking sites either as part of our job, or during down time, or at the expense of our own day being longer. Not at the expense of productivity, and if someone is truly not being productive, then get rid of them no matter what the reason is!

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Let’s do our own study. Let’s assume a 4 member team, and a supervisor. For simplicities sake, lets say the team members make $50,000 per year, and the manager make twice that. Every day, once in the morning, and once in the afternoon, the manager does a check on how things are going, what issues are coming up and where she should expect some problems. She has a 5 minute conversation with each employee, twice a day.

That’s 10 minutes of not being productive per employee.

$50,000/52 weeks/40 hours/60 minutes = .40 cents per minute of salary wasted.

.40 x 10 minutes per day = $4.00 x 5 days per week x 52 weeks per year = $1,040 of salary wasted

x 4 employees = $4,160

For the manager, it’s 40 minutes per day at twice the salary, so $1,040 x 4 x 2 = $8,320 per year.

For a grand total of  $12,480 of lost productivity! Good god, let’s ban managers talking to their reports! It’s killing us! Don’t even get me started on meetings, restroom breaks, phone calls or email!

Of course, it’s not, but my quick example makes as much sense as these stupid social networking/productivity studies, doesn’t it?