A few words on business clutter

Posted On August 19, 2014

An article in The Economist this month got me thinking about how different generations value time. The piece talks about three types of business clutter – organizational clutter, meeting clutter and email clutter. None of these is a shocking revelation to anyone who works in a large organization. The demands on time are significant, and often not related specifically to the task at hand. In fact, a colleague recently shared that when her boss asked for yet another report, she had to tell him “I can do the report, or I can do the work that the report is about, but there’s just not enough time to do both.”

That comment was from an Xer – mature enough in position to have that conversation without getting fired, but echoing the sentiment of many employees, especially younger ones. Time is a true currency, yet companies spend an inordinate amount of time in meetings and “touching base” – to the extent that the actual work is getting harder to get done. Is this the result of Boomers—who tend to value face time and a commitment to the team—being at the helm?  Do companies run by younger generations operate more efficiently? Or is it a natural progression of a more dispersed workforce made capable by technology?  Perhaps a little of both.

The final line in the Economist article could easily have been the whole article “the most valuable resource that many companies have is the time of their employees. And yet they are typically far less professional about managing that time than they are at managing their financial assets.”

What can you do, today, to start treating your time – and that of your colleagues – as professionally as you do your clients and your finances?

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