Productivity costs

So, I was reading “Average weekly pay now $1166” in the business section of the Australian newspaper and thought I’d just run a quick calculation based on my favourite email productivity statistic which is:


In a study last year, Dr. Thomas Jackson of Loughborough University, England, found that it takes an average of 64 seconds to recover your train of thought after interruption by e-mail. So people who check their e-mail every five minutes waste 8 1/2 hours a week figuring out what they were doing moments before.


If we assume a 44 hour week (normal 40 hours + 4 extra hours i.e. 10% = 44 hours per week average, which I reckon is high on average anyway). That means the average earnings per hour are $26.50.


So, if 8.5 hours are lost per week to email interruption that’s worth $ 225.25 per week and $10,812 per annum (assuming 48 work weeks a year) PER EMPLOYEE. Now if the “average” number of employees is say 10, that’s $108,120 per annum lost in productivity simply due to email interruption. ON AVERAGE, per business!


That’s almost the cost of two people on the average wage (which comes out to $111,936 based on the same assumptions). It certainly indicates that by simply being more efficient with the ubiquitous technology like email and preventing interruptions, perhaps businesses could maybe save two full time jobs.


It might not sound like a lot when you look at lost productivity per person, per day but add it up over a year, over all employees and I think you’ll start to understand that poor email behaviour is money down the drain. Who can afford to throw away that sort of cash these days?


For more information about improving productivity don’t forget to visit

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