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Businesses: You're Wasting Too Much Money Talking at Work

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It's okay to talk to people. It's okay to have quality conversations, and to engage in small talk. But do you know how much talking at work costs you?

What's the problem with talking at work?

Several studies have shown it takes 20 minutes or more to regain focus after a distraction. So every time you're interrupted - like when a call comes in, or when your co-worker starts talking to you - you lose valuable time.

Just a few interruptions can turn into hours of lost work!

In fact, employees lose about 760 hours a year to work-place distractions. The #1 distraction is a "noisy office," or talkative co-workers.

Whether it's with customers or other employees, you obviously need to communicate at work. But isn't there a better way? One that won't force you to lose hundreds of hours of productivity year after year?

Just hang up and text me meme

What alternatives are there?

To minimize costs and to keep customers happier, big businesses like Microsoft and WordPress have implemented self-service strategies.

They provide all their customer service information online so customers can troubleshoot on their own. They also have a large community of users who share knowledge with each other.

So when user A has a problem that user B went through a few months ago, user B will help user A resolve the issue.

This incurs no cost to the company because they didn't have to field any calls or emails, and it saves employees valuable time - hundreds of hours per employee per year.

There is almost always a better way to do something, and there's clearly a better way to communicate for work.

Do your front office employees handle many calls? Chances are you're spending more money handling these calls than you should be.

The average person spends over 8 minutes every single day talking about the weather. The weather! 

Related: What's the Most Popular Form of Communication in 2017? It's Still Texting

Now add in the typical howdy-dos, whatever the kids have been up to, how your weekend was, etc., and the average front office employee spends - what? An hour of every single day in repetitive small talk?

And it's not just the one hour that's lost. It's that hour plus the time it takes for that front office employee to regain focus.

Build relationships is great, but it's also good to note how efficient (or inefficient) your operations are.

UPS is a great example of efficient service. They're engineering gurus!

While being polite, their goal is to handle as many calls as possible. In a call center of about 50 employees, they'll handle 60,000 calls a day. You don't do this by being Chatty Kathy!

Nobody likes a cut and dry worker bot, but it's very clear that a significant amount of time, and therefore money, is wasted by spending too much time talking.

One alternative is to encourage texting at work. Text with your customers and co-workers, and let them text you. Most bosses support texting at work, anyway.

Related: Research Shows a Surprising Number of Bosses Support Texting at Work

Texting is usually quicker than talking on the phone. Actually, it's about 10X quicker, even if you have to send several messages back-and-forth.

And texts don't have to be addressed immediately, like co-workers and phone calls do. Employees can finish up the task at hand first, instead of losing their train of thought.

So, what should businesses do?

Obviously, not all of your customers are going to instantly start texting you instead of calling. And not all of your employees are going to stop talking at work. Nor should anyone stop completely.

But if you could get back 25% to 50% of your team's productivity, how much more value would that bring?

Less communication can be better for your business

Businesses spend a lot of money on just talking, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. But you could use a different form of communication - like text messaging - to minimize distractions and increase productivity.

This will inevitably help you cut costs while increasing revenue, too.

We text for a 101 reasons everyday. Why not text to save money, and use those savings to grow your operation?

Related: 8 Benefits of Texting for Business That You Desperately Need