Springfords LLP blog

Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

Who's Your Clooney of the Coffee Machine?

25 August 2017

It’s great to have that super helpful person around the office. Someone who’s only too willing to help out the team, no matter what the problem might be. At least that’s what we all think.

Call them whatever you like: your office angels, your flying squad, your fifth emergency service (or is it sixth - we lost count, which is unusual for accountants like us). No matter what the problem may be, when something goes wrong around the office, or something needs fixed on the factory floor, they are there, ready to help, and smart enough to know what to do. A quick tweak of the hidden adjustment lever; or dropping down just the right menu to make the software work; or even making just the right phone call to just the right person that they just happen to know. Heck, they’ll even fix the water cooler when it’s tepid. That person is pure gold dust, and more popular than George Clooney at a coffee-machine convention.

According to the recent research findings carried out by the Trainline, these oracles of the office complete sixteen key tasks per day, and spend over three hours and 35 minutes per week assisting their co-workers.

So, do you recognise the collateral value of your office helper? How much are they saving you in call-out fees and maintenance contracts? Is there someone in your team who’s not just a willing team player, but also ready to get up and go and be the greenskeeper, the floodlight fixer and the stadium announcer as well? They’ll even drive the team bus, given half an excuse. Maybe there’s a case for recognition and reward when someone on your team goes that extra mile, and makes life easier for everyone.

Which brings us to the other side of this helpful coin.

It’s great having enthusiastic helpers, ready to bail out a co-worker at a moment’s notice, but are they bailing out of their own duties in the process? Are they too busy helping out stranded colleagues to be getting on with their own work. Is that enthusiasm to help, hindering their own progress and, maybe, it’s encouraging some of the team to avoid getting the skills they need to play their part to the full. If the office little helper is helping the office little slacker get away with a few fallibilities that shouldn’t be avoided, that’s a situation that comes home to roost all too soon, when little helper isn’t around.

If your helpers are the sort who neglect their own duties to help out others, who might just be able to help themselves, maybe the bottom line is that they aren’t saving you anything at all, after all.

Are you looking at the overall picture, and striking a balance between informal savings and formal loss of productivity? Springfords can help you address all the issues around cost saving and the overall costs to productivity. So think about that, the next time you ask your manager to fix the expresso coffee machine instead of calling out George Clooney's maintenance team.

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Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

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