Sir Isaac Newton once said: If I have seen further, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” Therefore, I could not resist borrowing from some brilliant illustrations that compellingly express the importance of time to kick-start my article and they go like this:
“If you want to appreciate the meaning of time, just ask a university student who failed his/her four-year degree course.”
“You really want to appreciate the significance of time, ask a former convict who spent 10 years behind the bars.”
“You want to understand the precious worth of time; just ask an entrepreneur who missed an opportunity to submit a tender by a minute.” “To appreciate the price of time, ask a traveller who missed to connect a flight and had to pay for another flight.”
“Take a walk through the hospital wards and you will witness patients wishing themselves for a speedy recovery.”
Whoever said, “Time is an Undisputed King”, should have observed or lived some of the above-mentioned experiences and realities of life. At times as employees tend to undermine the productive and precious time, they rob consciously or unconsciously from their employers.
Jim Rohn said, “Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money but you cannot get more time”. I totally concur with him, a clock ticks only once and it is irreversible. Time is a finite resource nevertheless as employees despite its acute scarcity we often want only squander it in a myriad of ways.
Employees commonly waste time through engaging in prolonged and unproductive meetings, extended lunch and coffee breaks and of late social media. The advert and proliferation of technological advance has revolutionised employee productivity and ease of doing business. However, it is also a proverbial double edged sword that has also negatively contributed to declined productivity as a result of insatiable appetite of employees to be continually connected and engaged on the highly addictive social media platforms that include: Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and YouTube.
Social media alone contributes a big share in employees’ guilt of pilfering employers’ time. Although since the 1980's employers have struggled to contain time thieves this time around the challenge is more complex to arrest despite widespread use of employee logging devices and productivity tracking timesheets. Technology and connectivity is now in our palms and often access to preferred social media is unrestricted. How many of you have smart phones? Emphatic answer almost every employee! Albeit social media is the most culpable time killer, general employee tardiness is not far of the top in ranks of stealing time. This can be attributed to coming to work a few minutes late and always running late for meetings, let alone leaving workstations a few minutes early. With absolute conviction, employees have long been guilty of stealing time from employers and I am convinced that today this crime rate has worsened than in 1980s and 1990s. In order to clarify my point lets go the numbers way. They say figures don’t lie for a reason. Let’s presume that in a day an employee idles a minimum of hour. It follows that in working week and month it is cumulatively 5 hours and 20 hours respectively. In short, if the employees steal an hour a day it technically translates to almost three days a month and 36 days annually. This is by no means a small figure of wasted productive hours, if you consider the total number of employees engaged by the employer.
The above scenario clearly illuminates the gravity and scope of the how employees cheat and steal from employers. However, to bring the issue to a more personal level, think of your own helper at home always reporting for duty at 0810 hours every morning instead of the agreed start time of 0800 hours. What are you supposed to do? Definitely, I assume without hesitation most people will be compelled fire the helper due to his or her habitual breach in time keeping ground rules. However, charity should begin at home….if you can fire your helper the same should equally apply to you at workplace if you behave in an exact manner. Thus employees who consistently fail to meet their employment obligations adhering to assignment deadlines and punctuality should be subjected to disciplinary action. Businesses need engaged employees who relentlessly observe punctuality and essence of time keeping in carrying out their roles and responsibilities.
Punctuality is the respect of time and others’ commitments. Punctuality is the appreciation and respect of others’ time. By respecting and honouring time, you have respected your employer and their organisational goals and missions. Punctuality demonstrates professionalism. Be selective with who you invest your time with. Wasted time is worse than wasted money because once consumed its irreversible and recoverable. In short, punctuality is a key individual behaviour. I believe being on time reflects good manners because it shows respect and consideration for the other person’s time.
In cultures, which value punctuality, being late is a sign of disrespect of others' time and may be considered insulting. Fortunately, the church I attend is modernised and respects time. I don’t think I would have lasted with that church if their respect for time was atrocious. The simple manner of punctuality is to arrive 15 minutes before the expected time and make yourself at home. Some of these skills such as punctuality must be learnt at school. Our kids should be taught the importance of time and punctuality. In conclusion, Charles Darwin said, “A Man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life”. In short, life teaches us to value time and time teaches us to value life. Time is King.