Business Connections by Adams

S U MM E R 2 0 2 1 7 BUSINESS connections We May Want to Rethink the 8-Hour Workday The 8-hour workday was created during the Industrial Revolution to reduce the number of hours of manual labor that workers were forced to endure on the factory floor. In today’s offices, however, the 8-hour workday presents challenges. According to the American Society of Employers, research by Ohio University suggests the average office worker is only productive for 2 hours and 53 minutes each 8-hour workday. The following activities account for some of the remaining time: • Reading news websites – 65 minutes • Social media – 44 minutes • Discussing topics not related to work – 40 minutes • Searching for new jobs – 26 minutes Another factor contributing to reduced productivity is the number of interruptions. The average office worker is interrupted every three minutes, and it takes most people about 22 minutes to return to a task after being interrupted. Ideally, the brain needs a 15-minute break for every one hour of highly focused work. So to be most productive, we should take regular breaks away from computers and phones. Breaks spent walking or chatting are most effective for “recharging batteries” and preparing for another hour of work. Look into Outsourcing To get help with noncore tasks, you may want to turn to outsourcing. This strategy offers many valuable benefits, the first of which is freeing up time to focus on their core competencies. Everyone can concentrate on what they do best, allowing your business to derive maximum benefit from each person’s talents. Another benefit of outsourcing is that by bringing in specialists, it often results in faster completion of projects. After all, which makes more sense—having you struggle through an IT challenge for days, or hiring an IT consultant who could complete the project in a few hours? In addition, outsourcing allows your business to access people with a high level of training, education, and experience in selected areas, which often pays off in the long run. For example, an accountant may find little-known tax deductions or a human resources contractor may be able to recommend ways to save on employee benefits. These specialists are also able to stay current with all the changes in their fields, which is difficult (if not impossible) for you to do as a stretched-too-thin small business owner. On its website, the U.S. Small Business Administration says, “Outsourcing allows you to get more done and trust important tasks and processes to professionals without having to actually grow your full-time team in a significant way. It allows you to keep costs under control, increase efficiency and focus on the parts of your business that you actually enjoy and are good at.”