Redoing work. Bad communication. And how it’s costing you money. Almost half of workday time-wasting is employees doing duplicate work – here’s how it’s impacting your bottom line
Imagine you find out that all your employees are only working 4 days a week. Every Friday, for the whole day, they just sit and copy each other’s work – they sit and redo what other people have already done. How would you react to this level of duplicate work?
It’s just as important as understanding your company culture and investing in help from a change management company, because research shows that it IS happening. Right now. Every week. Probably in your company. It’s called duplicate work – literally redoing work that’s already been done – and you can just imagine what it’s doing to your productivity.
What? Why? Great question! Let’s figure it out: In this post, we look at what’s meant by duplicate work, tasks, and efforts, see how common the trend is, with some everyday examples, AND then we ask: How can you avoid duplicate work in your business?
WHAT EXACTLY IS DUPLICATE WORK?
Duplicate work takes many forms. It’s when employees either knowingly or unknowingly “reinvent the wheel” by duplicating work that was already performed by someone else. Reasons & causes for duplication also vary.
EXAMPLES OF DUPLICATE WORK
If, for example, the employee is simply unaware that the work was already done (recently or in the past) or they’re on deadline and simply can’t get hold of the person who was tasked with doing it (and then proceed to redo it just because they’re under pressure), it’s pretty clear that what’s happening is likely due to poor communication, unclear organisation or maybe a lack of role clarity – see why people don’t actively ask for work clarity.
Either way, it results in a loss of time and efficiency, which could lead to low productivity.
RESEARCH: HOW COMMON IS DUPLICATION OF WORK?
In their recent report on productivity and knowledge (download it here) Video software experts Panopto found that many US employees spend almost 6 hours per week doing duplicate work. That’s almost a full day! And 51% of employees did duplicate work simply because they didn’t have access to the information (that someone had done it already).
Resource management pro’s Planview found in 2015 that up to 44% of “time-wasting” during the workday is due to inefficiency and duplication of work. While researchers Anam, K, Zafar, S & Shaﬁ M.Q found in this 2018 study that duplicate work in the Telecoms industry had a direct negative effect on individual employee performance.
At the same time, you can imagine the impact redoing work has on your bottom line. If each employee is duplicating efforts for at least 6 out of 40 hours per week, that’s about 15% of their time that goes to waste. You can calculate how a loss of 15% of productive time will reflect on your books.
HOW CAN YOU AVOID DUPLICATE WORK?
It seems to all come down to communication, organisation and transparency. If every team member is aware of what everyone else is working on at any given moment – and that includes management! – and they have full and easy access to a library of current and past activities to draw from as a starting point for every new task/activity, you can imagine you’d have a lot less duplication.
It’s quite a hot topic in the tech and software industries right now because a lot of businesses realise that you can create the kind of continuity you need for this through knowledge-sharing tools and software.
But it’s also worth noting that communication is a predominantly social activity. (Your teams are a little society unto itself.) And when it’s social, it’s almost always cultural. So a good question to ask is how do my organizational processes and company culture play into this?
FOCUS ON ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT & CULTURE
There’s reason to believe that developing your company culture could help. See, your workplace is an intentional place of collaboration. And you want that collaboration to be as effective as possible – i.e. not duplicating each other’s work.
So a great place to start is to say, even without all the fancy tech and software, how good are we at organisation, sharing, and accountability – our systems and processes – and have we spent enough time on developing a high-performance culture?
Good news! We are a change management company, and we specialise in helping companies discover, change and develop their core values, strategy, and Company Culture. We help companies get right down to understand their strategy, reality and turn organizational challenges into real opportunities. And we use science-based organisational development to re-energise your people for max growth.
And we WILL SEND a team to your company RIGHT NOW to help you discover ways to get back on track – with no obligation from you! (Just book your assessment below).
Let’s figure out what’s going on, so we can help you get back to high performance.
ABOUT OUR #COMPANYCULTURE PROJECT
The more you look at it, the more of the common, everyday struggles we face inside our companies are related to our organizational cultures. Even the most apparent efficiency and performance obstacles we face come as a result of cultures.
That’s why we’ve tasked our #TeamCompanyCulture to talk directly to the issues we see in our businesses every day. Connect with the team via firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 071 918 3217.
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Also see what happens why it seems you’re always understaffed.
And what would happen if your company doesn’t invest in understanding what you stand for, or seems to have no core values?