In offices around the country, employees feel as though they are working as hard as possible. When people say that they are ‘working hard’, often they mean to say that they are putting as much effort as possible into tasks they have been assigned. In the vast majority of cases, this is almost certainly true. The question that should be asked however, is whether people are working as efficiently as possible?

The answer is that probably, they aren’t. In every minute of every day, time is wasted in workplaces across the country.

Frank doesn’t have to get up and waste five minutes of his hour walking around the office in search of a stapler. However, he does and five minutes which could have been spent sending off crucial documents, are spent pacing around, staring at the office carpet, checking the TV news headlines, and chatting to the three people sat nearest to the stapler. In the same way, Sophie did not need to get up again to get another drink, having already had a coffee, had a good chat with everyone in the kitchen, and gone for a cigarette break twenty minutes ago.

Although these examples of office behaviour may seem to constitute accepted, even normal elements of office life, cumulatively they have a devastating impact on your team’s efficiency and ultimately on your productivity.

So how can these inefficiencies be avoided? It is vital to ensure that while you are at your desk, you are using as much of your time as possible to generate revenue for the business. Work will very rarely be described as a highlight of somebody’s week. However, completing tasks efficiently makes the difference between leaving at 17.30 and coming back refreshed the next day, and working until 22.00 and suffering from lethargy for the rest of the week.

Simply placing resources more widely around the office, or placing the drinks machine closer to people’s desks, can reduce wasted time dramatically and save your business thousands every quarter.

In the Hansei office, we are in the midst of a ‘War On Waste.’ A downside to this is that Steve will personally call anyone caught pacing excessively into his office for a 1-2-1 (sorry Frank). On the upside, we’ve got so much work done this month, that we’ve had time to put on some great events. We’re touring the country encouraging people across every sector imaginable to make a positive change to their office routines.

Our Kaizen (Kai = change, Zen = good) event last week encouraged the teams who attended to reflect on what a typical day in the office involved for them. Then we asked people to consider whether they were needlessly wasting time, which if used productively, would improve the results they achieved. Many attendees were surprised at the extent to which minuscule changes in their daily routines could save them time, improve their productivity and boost their quality of life overall. These staggering changes can even make Sophie’s coffee break more efficient so that her workflow will be as smooth as her arabica. For advice on how to boost your own productivity by removing waste from your life, check out our blog today. Please don’t look at our blog while at your desk though; that spreadsheet has to take priority.