A new survey has confirmed what many bosses have suspected for years – office workers are wasting their time. Indeed, the cost to British business of staff playing ‘telephone tag’ is estimated to be almost 3bn a month. The on-line survey of 30,000 computer based workers undertaken on behalf of Siemens Communications revealed that some 70 per cent of workers believe that up to a third or more of their calls do not get through to the right people first time. In fact, more than a quarter believe that 50 per cent or more of their calls fail first time because people are in meetings, out of the office or simply engaged.
Based on the survey and their own research, Siemens now estimate that the minimum amount of time wasted every day by every office worker – playing telephone tag or making unsuccessful phone calls – is 30 minutes.
Siemens estimate that this 30 minutes alone equates to a national daily salary cost of some 121m, or 32.2bn in a working year – and that is without the cost incurred on unsuccessful calls.
The research was published to coincide with the launch of Siemens OpenScape, a new software application designed to combine the power of PC-based communications from the latest version of Microsoft Office with businesses’ existing telephone systems. OpenScape aims at providing real-time improvements in business communication and collaboration between groups of workers.
OpenScape allows groups of co-workers to register their presence and preferred methods of contact. A traffic-light style system shows availability on screen and just clicking on the person’s icon will dial the correct number to achieve a successful call. Whenever a person is on a call, their icon turns red.
A mouse click will allow conference calls to be either immediately established or scheduled at a convenient time and workers can register their availability on their company network either in the office, from home or a remote location using a telephone, a laptop or a PDA.