As one of the major expenses of any business,  key executives, or even the owner directors – are always the most expensive human resource in your company.   So why then would any business allow its most costly assets to be wasted up to a staggering 50% of the time – are these businesses poorly managed, are they staffed by delinquents, or does nobody care?

No, this waste is probably happening in your very own office, and could be happening, to you as you read this.  But most senior execs cry, “no not me, I can’t possibly waste 50% of my work time, as I work 50 plus hours a week, and never have enough time to take lunch, let alone ‘waste’ even 5 minutes of my day.”

The waste we are talking about is not actually doing nothing or playing truant, or even gossiping by the water cooler. No, this waste occurs every time you do something in your working week that could be done by a cheaper member of staff, or by a more efficient person, or more efficient process.

Lets Talk about Executive Efficiency!

What do we mean. Well let’s take a really simple example let’s say you are a very talented Senior Exec on a salary of 100 units per hour (no actual currency used, so as not to distract from the purpose of this example!). As part of your job often find yourself driving to meetings (whether suppliers, clients or other work sites). Now this is a very common occurrence, but if you consider that a professional driver (and or possible recent options of contract drivers/Uber drivers) costs say 20 units per hour, can you explain why you (the exec on 5 times the hourly salary/cost) are driving yourself.    And in this one example, you get the double positive whammy of whilst being driven you can work on a lap top, catch up on emails, write up the next report – all jobs that command the 100 units per hour salary.

The author of this article, once new someone who spent some 20 hours a week driving, whilst being a senior director of their own business (and visiting key clients) , and it took them many years to realise that they were probably the UK’s most overpaid car driver, and that in a typical year they wasted over twenty working weeks “driving a car”.  You must wonder how much more that same person could have achieved if they had spent all that driving time doing the work of their pay grade, I would suggest the answer lies in the millions of pounds of additional revenue for their business if they had managed to “work all week at their own job”.

Other typical examples, often founded in good intentions, but sometimes due to an inability to delegate – many Execs will take on a few hours of “admin” work each week, inputting numbers, filing away data, checking some routine process etc.  All of these tasks could have been done by a more efficient Admin person, probably on a salary of one quarter of your own. So where is the sense in doing this low-level work, slowly and at a cost you cannot justify.  Imagine finishing a meal in your local restaurant to be handed a bill that is four times the normal cost, and being told that’s just because you are a well paid exec – no you would not stand for this, so why stand for such overcharging in your own office.

Now Check Your Own Score

So here a practical tip for anyone who is middle to top level leadership in your organisation.  Just put down the smart phone and don’t check your emails for the next 5 minutes. Type (best on an excel sheet), or write out a list of all the major types or categories of work that you do in a typical week, then in the next column, try and honestly score how many hours per week each task/category absorbs of your time.   Try to ensure the total number of hours is roughly equal to the hours you work each week. Now here’s the cute bit, in the next column write out the hourly rate that you believe would have to be paid if you did that job for a living (so your exec work 80 currency units per hour, a driver 20 units per hour, office cleaner 10 units per week, customer support 25 units etc etc). Then two bits of simple maths.  Firstly, highlight all the tasks that you rated as the work only you could do, and so was costed at 80 units per how, now add up the total time per week that you spent “doing your real job”.  What percentage is this of the total hours in your working week? The best we have ever seen is 80%, and the worst was 30% (yes less than a third of each week actually doing the highly skilled job they are paid to do).   Now one last sum to complete the argument.  In the final column, multiply out each ‘task time’ by the units per hour pay rate you assigned, and add up the total cost at the bottom of this column. Now we know your total true cost is 80 units per hour multiplied by your 40 hours = 3200 units cost per week. Our estimate is that if you are very very honest, the total cost of the work done will be less than 80% of your real cost, as the lower rate band tasks could in theory be done by cheaper staff –  which is absolutely scary frightening stuff that is the kind of number that makes company accountants become insomniacs.

OK, hands up, this is not an easy problem to solve. We can’t have just one quarter of a weekly car driver, and we can’t keep one tenth of an admin assistant in our cupboard. But by doing the above analysis, we can at least be aware of where the time is going and why we are only maybe spending half of the time doing the really hard stuff that we were promoted and employed to do.  This process will actually help you “manage” your work and yourself to a better level of efficiency. It should also force you to consider if you can reduce the hours spent driving, or can you pool your admin work with others to one new admins assistant (remember your maths will prove to any bean counter, why this makes sense).

Aim to be spending 75% of your week, “doing your job”, and be aware that when you are spending an hour doing an admin assistants job, that admin assistant won’t spend an hour doing your job in return.

So hopefully the above has at the very least set you thinking about clever use of your time, smarter use of your businesses resources and wishing if only you could slice working resources up into fractions of the week.

Well the good news is that you can for some roles, and is just why our Fractional Employment of our amazing Sales and Marketing Experts works as well as it does.

We have taken that concept of “I only need one fifth of a Marketing Director”, and hey presto, that is exactly what you can hire, with no long-term contract or onerous employment costs. Access to proven experts, best practice and smart thinking of these highly experienced people.

Just contact us today for an informal chat about how our Smart Part Time Experts could be driving growth and profitability for your business tomorrow.