Optimizing time for support team

Managing occupational idle time and using it productively...

"Always keep your discrimination alive. Avoid those things that will not benefit you. And never pass your time in idleness"- Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda, Spiritual Diary May 19
A lot of people are facing occupational hazard in the form of idle time, leading to frustration and disillusionment. This is not just in India, but its a global Human Resource issue. Below are three employment categories where we see maximum idle time: -
  1. Government organizations 
  2. Private organizations
  3. Self Employed or entrepreneur
Car Drivers - The office executives arrive in the office at morning hours say 9 am or 10 am, and then leave by 6 or 7 pm. In most cases the privately owned car drivers have long hours of idle every day. Self-employed people like TaxiCab Drivers, Tempo drivers, rickshaw drivers etc. situation is worse, as the travel requirements have reduced due to pandemic. And, they know they will not get paid at the end of the day if they do not have sufficient passengers, business for goods etc. I have been asking them what they do, and the answer is they talk to their friends or family members and listen to songs if they have a basic mobile phone. But, nowadays most of them have a smart phone with unlimited data plans (Thanks to Jio) they would watch random videos on Youtube or Facebook.  Hence, we can easily conclude that in the case of corporate drivers, most companies do not have any formal policy to utilize idle time for them. They simply ignore this issue, and do not consider it as a problem. This also means that there is no prospect of future growth of income for drivers apart from the routine annual hike. And they cannot aspire to lead a better life for their family. 

Security Guards - Life of a security guard in small residential complexes, where the guest flow is less, is uneasy. For a security guard the only saviour is a smart phone & internet connection. Some people play mobile games, others are busy with watching Youtube, and others are busy with Facebook, WhatsApp or Instagram consuming all unproductive gossip. Recently, I asked a security guard to listen something productive. He asked what is productive for him. Then I shared the audiobook of - Autobiography of a Yogi in Bangla mp3 version to him and later checked with him - he told he enjoyed listening it very much. The only drawback to the above action was I saw he was posting new WhatsApp status every day and started sending me "Good Morning" and "Good Night" messages, also send me a friend request on Facebook!!! (Since our mobile numbers got exchanged)

The retail segment has the biggest hit, whether it's a retail showroom, or salon, or hotel or restaurant.  Salespersons, Restaurant cooks and stewards are getting more idle time in this pandemic due to shift in online purchases. Stress keeps on adding up both for employer and employee. 

Retail Showroom Salespersona typical retail showroom in a high street mall opens from 11 am to 8 pm (all 7 days a week). But most of the sales happen only on weekends between 6 - 8 pm. Apart from stock reconciliation or some training on new products, they do not have anything to do. So what is the salesperson supposed to do on the rest of the days? 

Travelling time - A lot of people travel around 5-6 hours everyday to travel to their workplaces, as they stay in suburban areas, and take local trains and travel for 2-3 hours one direction to reach their office and then back. This takes a huge toll on their overall motivation to upskill and learn new things. While they are in train they do the same things - watching videos. This is very common, especially in Mumbai. 
Restaurant Staff - The food serving staff and the cooking staff are also idle on weekdays if their location is not a prime business location. 

Gig & Delivery Team - In India, nowadays, a lot of unemployed youth owning a two-wheeler, are also working for app-based goods delivery business for brands like Swiggy, Zomato, Big Basket, Urban Company etc. Whether it's food delivery, delivery for medicines, groceries and other stuff, there seems to be more supply for delivery boys and comparatively lesser demand for delivery boys in some cases. In this case, the mobile app company pays based on the total orders delivered, and not with a fixed salary - hence the companies don't stand to lose anything 

Seasonal Businesses / teams - Event managers specializing in wedding management and wedding suppliers face slowdowns and idle times during "Off season". As most wedding dates are derived from a "Panchang" and depends on "Auspicious Dates or Shubh Tithi". Same is with Rakhi manufacturers, Festive gifts planners etc. 

These are some of the categories of people who are essential for a company operation but are mostly under-utilized. Organizations can save billions of dollars if they have active programs to help utilize the occupational idle time to do something productive. 

The monotony needs to break, and they should be guided with some compassion. The following are some ideas for companies to consider: -
  1. Implement job rotation for their drivers by giving them office filing and other tasks which they can do.
  2. Offer some training in spoken English, document management, banking work, using computers by observing their colleagues in office.  
  3. Create a mini library in office with inspirational and motivational books in multiple languages. The people can visit and read the books during their idle time. 
Help your team members boost their productivity by creating a mini library for them. You can reach us at connect@ideazfirst.com or 033 35509623 for more details.

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