Does Lost Time Cost Money?

Listened to a CBC bit evaluating lost time due to increased illness, and how it affects the economy. I’m going to go out on a limb, and say while the piece does make some good points, they have an expert spewing malarkey as well.

The story:

When you say the average person is missing 1.4 hours per week (average, over the course of a year), and then you put an economic impact on that time, you’re assuming the average person working 40 hours a week is productive for 40 hours a week.

Statistically, this is a false premise. If you look a little deeper, the average employee is actually productive for an average of 2-3 hours in any 8 hour day, assuming a 40 hour week.

The measure we SHOULD be looking at is how much of the missed time is productive time – did they get the work they were hired to do finished? If they did, exactly 0 hours were lost. If they did not, then we need to figure out how to help people be more productive.

Odds are good that pandemic or no pandemic, those people, if healthy, were likely either completing their work, or not completing their work the same before the start of the pandemic.

If their health was impacted by the pandemic, we need to look at ways of preventing illness, to avoid things happening that impact health and well being of workers. Clean air, masks. DO cost benefit analysis, figure out how to minimize health issues on the job. Teach people to protect themselves outside of work.

Points being

  1. No, people don’t “work” for 8 hours a day, they’re AT work for 8 hours a day.
  2. Losing 20 minutes a week to illness doesn’t come out of productive time anyway.
  3. Keeping people healthy and happy is far more important to productivity than keeping people in the office.

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