40 Hour work week? I remember my first part time job.

I recall a few years ago I was working 55 hour weeks. We all were and had been doing so for a few years. My project manager used to get in at 5 in the morning and leave late in the afternoon. I got in a bit later at 6.30 and left at 5 or 6, as did most of our team. One day I bailed him up in the lunch room and said,  “things have to change. I want to go back to working a 40 hour working week. We have to learn to work smarter not harder.” – or some similar platitude.

He stopped, looked directly at me with his head tilted to the side, you know, the way a dog does when it’s a bit confused, and said, “You CANNOT go back to working part time hours“. I’m pretty certain he issued a few expletives as well. We both laughed, a lot …..but he was serious.

People are not the problem……

Long hours, in pressure situations characterizes the construction industry. Both builders and their workers complain about the long hours they work. They are flat out, their staff are flat out. There are deadlines to meet and cost implications to face if targets aren’t met. However, its this human cost that doesn’t seem to be taken into consideration. With profit margins less than 5% (at best) the money just isn’t available to spend time quantifying this area. The sad fact is that people are the collateral damage.

The price of an inefficient system is one of the greatest hidden costs for any firm. Managers must also stop blaming staff alone for productivity issues. Highly customized, patched-up system are also responsible for much lost time.

To improve efficiency and claw back lost margin the builder must look beyond his staff for answers. If the labour component of the process is being used to full capacity, it’s time to look at his/her systems and procedures.

The good news is help is out there for companies that are interested in looking and we don’t all charge an arm and a leg for our services. etender is an example of such a company. We are not just in the business of streamlining processes and system implementation. We are in the business of giving people back their time.