Wasted work time costing society 128 billion kroner

March 31st, 2015

This article is more than 9 years old.

There is potential for much greater productivity, according to surveyed employees

Half of all employees in Denmark think they could be more productive at work and a quarter believe that, given the right conditions, their effectiveness could increase by more than ten percent, while 7 percent see the potential for 25 percent more effectiveness. This is the result of a study carried out by the Danish consultancy firm Wilke for Avisen.dk.

The labour movement organisation Arbejderbevægelsens Erhvervsråd (AE) has calculated on the basis of these figures that if this potential was exploited by optimising the country’s working conditions, it would contribute to an extra 128 billion kroner of prosperity in society.

Working smarter
Erik Bjørsted, a chief analyst at AE, told Avisen.dk that this didn’t just mean pushing employees more. “It’s not necessarily a case of us having to run faster,” he said.

“But we should be using the best and newest technology and optimising working processes.”

He also emphasises that the results are just based on people’s estimations. “People have answered according to how much they think they can increase their effectiveness and that increases the uncertainty,” he said.

For example, in the construction industry time can be wasted because of delays in materials being delivered or the improper planning of tradesmen’s tasks.

Thomas Thomassen, a carpenter and union representative at the construction company Toppenberg HOK, asserts that this leads to drops in productivity of around 30 percent. “It’s not just my boss’s fault when it goes wrong. It’s also down to the developers and suppliers,” he said.

“But if everything was planned and organised and things were ready to roll, I’m sure that I could give a third more.”


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