4 surprising ways your employees are costing you money


It’s often the hidden expenses you don’t think about that end up costing you money; watching your pennies etc. Another money funnel at work? Time spent chatting around the water cooler and sharing cat videos with colleagues. AKA: team bonding and forming valuable work friendships.

Below, we’ve added up some ways your employees are costing you money you may not have considered before; why not unleash your inner scrooge for a while and rail on your employees for eating up all your extra cash with their pesky toilet breaks, water consumption and communication with fellow human beings.

 

The cost of toilet breaks

Obviously your staff are entitled to breaks, but do you know how much they’re costing you? According to UK-based catering supplies company Inn Supplies, it’s probably more than you care to know.

The Occupational Health and Safety Commission recommends a 10 minute change of activity break after 50 minutes of continuous computer work, while across industries these recommendations differ (plus, apart from lunch breaks, employees are only entitled to extra breaks if detailed in their contracts). That said, a survey of over 1400 Australians by The Australia Institute found that most respondents said they routinely skipped lunch breaks (which suggests 3.8 million Australians regularly skip lunch to get work done), so complaining about toilet breaks actually feels pretty mean.

Nevertheless, consider the numbers;

The average employee visits the toilet between six and seven times a day.

If we assume that three of these visits are at work and each lasts four minutes each, consultancy group Epiphany estimates that employees could be costing UK businesses 92p each time nature calls, or 662.50 pounds a year. 

And as the cost of bathroom essentials isn’t included in this figure, the potential expense may even be higher.

Tea too

Another extenuating cost you may not have considered: the tea break.

Around half of British workers drink four or more cups of tea a day and 33 per cent drink between one and three cups – only 20 per cent don’t drink any at all.

On this basis, it is estimated that a 50-strong office in London will pay 92 pounds a day for tea and coffee supplies.

The average Brit also spends a total of 24 minutes brewing up at work. Over the course of a working life, that equates to 188 days and 21 hours, costing employers 400 pounds per employee, per year.

At this stage there are no accurate numbers on the costs of tea and coffee breaks to Australian workers, but if this writer’s daily habits are anything to go by, they’re most likely in the millions.

Where there’s smoke there’s money

Businesses also pay around $2,189 in workers’ compensation costs for smokers, compared with $176 for non-smokers.

The indirect costs of smoking in the workplace include lost worker production time ($92 billion lost to smoking attributable diseases over a four year span), air cooling and ventilation costs, property damage, as well as the recruitment and retraining of new workers after smokers get sick or die.

Time is money!

Smartphones, time-wasting websites and gossip are also costing you money; they are reported to cost US companies an estimated $650 billion a year.

General distraction in the office – anything from phone use to water cooler gossip – also helps drive down productivity for businesses.

A recent study in the US found that 53 per cent of workers agree that these distractions affect their productivity; although an even larger number claim that having a smartphone makes them a better worker.

 

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Catherine Cahill

This seems like an odd article for AHRI – should this not be in an Accounting magazine? After all it draws a direct line between observable activity and cost, without considering the underlying behavioural costs of this type of monitoring. I do believe “Time and Motion” Studies as a way to measure the effectiveness of work went out of favour in the 70’s. As HR professionals, I believe we understand the greater cost to a business would be closely monitoring how many toilet breaks people have, and how many cups of tea they have, or any other incidental activity. If… Read more »

More on HRM

4 surprising ways your employees are costing you money


It’s often the hidden expenses you don’t think about that end up costing you money; watching your pennies etc. Another money funnel at work? Time spent chatting around the water cooler and sharing cat videos with colleagues. AKA: team bonding and forming valuable work friendships.

Below, we’ve added up some ways your employees are costing you money you may not have considered before; why not unleash your inner scrooge for a while and rail on your employees for eating up all your extra cash with their pesky toilet breaks, water consumption and communication with fellow human beings.

 

The cost of toilet breaks

Obviously your staff are entitled to breaks, but do you know how much they’re costing you? According to UK-based catering supplies company Inn Supplies, it’s probably more than you care to know.

The Occupational Health and Safety Commission recommends a 10 minute change of activity break after 50 minutes of continuous computer work, while across industries these recommendations differ (plus, apart from lunch breaks, employees are only entitled to extra breaks if detailed in their contracts). That said, a survey of over 1400 Australians by The Australia Institute found that most respondents said they routinely skipped lunch breaks (which suggests 3.8 million Australians regularly skip lunch to get work done), so complaining about toilet breaks actually feels pretty mean.

Nevertheless, consider the numbers;

The average employee visits the toilet between six and seven times a day.

If we assume that three of these visits are at work and each lasts four minutes each, consultancy group Epiphany estimates that employees could be costing UK businesses 92p each time nature calls, or 662.50 pounds a year. 

And as the cost of bathroom essentials isn’t included in this figure, the potential expense may even be higher.

Tea too

Another extenuating cost you may not have considered: the tea break.

Around half of British workers drink four or more cups of tea a day and 33 per cent drink between one and three cups – only 20 per cent don’t drink any at all.

On this basis, it is estimated that a 50-strong office in London will pay 92 pounds a day for tea and coffee supplies.

The average Brit also spends a total of 24 minutes brewing up at work. Over the course of a working life, that equates to 188 days and 21 hours, costing employers 400 pounds per employee, per year.

At this stage there are no accurate numbers on the costs of tea and coffee breaks to Australian workers, but if this writer’s daily habits are anything to go by, they’re most likely in the millions.

Where there’s smoke there’s money

Businesses also pay around $2,189 in workers’ compensation costs for smokers, compared with $176 for non-smokers.

The indirect costs of smoking in the workplace include lost worker production time ($92 billion lost to smoking attributable diseases over a four year span), air cooling and ventilation costs, property damage, as well as the recruitment and retraining of new workers after smokers get sick or die.

Time is money!

Smartphones, time-wasting websites and gossip are also costing you money; they are reported to cost US companies an estimated $650 billion a year.

General distraction in the office – anything from phone use to water cooler gossip – also helps drive down productivity for businesses.

A recent study in the US found that 53 per cent of workers agree that these distractions affect their productivity; although an even larger number claim that having a smartphone makes them a better worker.

 

2
Leave a reply

avatar
100000
  Subscribe to receive comments  
Notify me of
Catherine Cahill
Guest
Catherine Cahill

This seems like an odd article for AHRI – should this not be in an Accounting magazine? After all it draws a direct line between observable activity and cost, without considering the underlying behavioural costs of this type of monitoring. I do believe “Time and Motion” Studies as a way to measure the effectiveness of work went out of favour in the 70’s. As HR professionals, I believe we understand the greater cost to a business would be closely monitoring how many toilet breaks people have, and how many cups of tea they have, or any other incidental activity. If… Read more »

More on HRM