In a bunch of management articles and blogs I’ve read in the last few years, there is more and more discussion about the ever-growing amount of time being wasted in the office by personnel and staff in the field.

Read here for a really good blog and infographic on this subject.

The issue I’ve had from the beginning since becoming a manager, then an owner and now an industry-consultant is to find what is the right balance between checking in on staff and what amounts to spying on employees.

I will confess that while at work I’m all about work and that is pretty much what I expect from my employees, and that’s what I teach my clients to expect from their employees. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a need for time to just hang out, chat and share a laugh.

Remember, we come to work as much to socialize as we do just to collect a check. To my mind, that time of coming together whether in the break room or at the local 7-Eleven or Circle K is vital to team building. It’s worse when people are “stealing” productive time to do solo-time wasting activities.

My friend who worked his whole life in big corporate America told me that there was an art to always looking busy…whether it was pouring over stacks of reports in the old days when stuff got printed that then turned into staring at the computer when the stuff moved to digital. Productivity didn’t change much. People just found new ways to look busy.

I know that many Techs wake up and already have how many calls they plan on doing that day figured out. It’s the same with people in the office. Some may wake up and start figuring out just how much they will do today. It’s only human nature to want to do the least if left to their own devices. Who at your company if unchecked can’t figure out how to expand the work to the desired timeframe? That of course being their desired timeframe not yours.

None of this makes people bad employees; it just makes them human.

The problem is that ever-expanding productive time-wasting activities can rob you of the profits you need to have a profitable business that benefit you, the owner, and also them, the employees, and even your customers.

Time wasting is going on in both the office and in the field. So, what can you do about it?

I’ll let you know in my next blog installment of “60-second Contractor Solution”. Stay tuned!