Why the cost of employees doing ‘boring work’ is more expensive that you realize

You’re willing to do just about anything to make your business a success. You and your staff wear every hat needed to make it all work.

But the cost of you and your employees doing “boring work” is more expensive that you realize.

Here are five common mistakes to avoid in your business that you can apply.

  1. Failing to recognize the true cost of boring.

Believe it or not, there are serious academics who devoted their entire careers to studying the effects of boredom on work productivity. (Sounds fun, right?) So what does all that research tell us? Simply put, it shows a close relationship between boredom and inefficiency.

Even more testing has been done on solutions that companies attempt to squeeze more productivity from a bored workforce.

Some simply “throw money at the problem” by increasing pay. A less expensive technique is goal-setting and progress-tracking, turning tasks into a sort of game. This has costs of its own, which leads to our next common mistake.

  1. Failing to recognize the true cost of micro-managing.

Wasted employee time is damaging to your bottom line. Wasted management time is worse. Are you micromanaging an employee? Well, admitting you have a problem is the first step.

The problem might be the employee (are they the right fit?), with you (communication and delegation skills) or your expectations, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and processes.

Different problems require different interventions. But the fact remains: Friction between employer and employees creates waste.

Investing in a good business coach or Fractional COO will help quickly identify these areas.

  1. Underestimating the power of incentives.

Commissions, stock options and other profit-sharing measures don’t work for every company, or every employee.

But when you can find creative ways to pay for performance, instead of merely paying for time, you incentivize your employees to get better at efficiently adding value to your company (in what they produce) instead of just focusing on how to add costs to your company (by showing up and putting in the time).

  1. Underestimating the power of passion.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. What you might count as boring or annoying tasks are things that others genuinely love to do.

Believe it or not, there are people who devote their lives to bookkeeping and tax law. By connecting those people with your business and letting them handle what they’re best at doing, it frees you to pursue your passions as well. This ultimate win-win accelerates your growth in ways you never imagined.

  1. Leaving unpicked fruit rotting on the tree.

The last and most all-encompassing mistake is limiting the value exchanges between employer and employee.

A typical employer simply seeks to get the most time and highest quality from an employee for the least amount of money. And a typical employee seeks the opposite. It’s a zero-sum game.

Outstanding employers offers a lot more than merely money. They obsesses about things like company culture and ways to set employees up to succeed — to chase their passions and advance their career. They provide autonomy, and take off the leash and trust employees to do their thing. And when that happens, the value-add — to the employee and to the company — is through the roof.

The world of potential non-monetary value you have to offer your employees is vast. If you limit it, you do so at the cost of your bottom line.

Justin E. Crawford, Esq. is the founder and CEO of Agents of Efficiency, Inc., author of “Live Free or DIY — The time-starved small-business owner’s survival guide” and the chief architect of the Efficiency Roadmap process used to help businesses across the country thrive. As an attorney, entrepreneur and operations consultant he has more than 15 years of experience starting and growing companies across various industries from international shipping, to professional services, to technology.