Consulting And Auditing: Overwork Is A Productivity Killer

Last updated on May 25, 2018


Image showing a project manager frustrated by a lot of work.

Overwork has been mistaken as a means or measure of productivity despite its converse effect on real productivity. And, in the context of the Consulting and Auditing industry, it has intertwined with work culture so much so that it has long been accepted as the industry norm.  Naturally, when the industry seeks to reform its ways and reduce the stress levels that are experienced by professionals, work culture solutions become the way out even if they are not very effective.

What organizations have failed to note is how proper resource allocation can provide real, actionable solutions to mitigating the need to overwork, which is not only easy to measure but also easy to replicate in numbers. Resource allocation simply makes room for a direct cause-effect relationship between workforces and project success thus measuring productivity on terms other than mere long hours. Consulting and Auditing firms which have so far, struggled trying to fix these issues with work culture solutions can potentially find far more sustainable and action-oriented solutions in scientific allocation and management.

Besides, resource mismanagement is tied in with poor output statuses of a lot of organizations. 50% of businesses had a project failure during the last year and according to 74% of respondents, lack of resources to meet project demands was one of the primary reasons. In another study, 50% respondents reported that their top risk is lost productivity because resources are not optimized, followed by remaining in crisis mode.

Workforce Woes

Let’s first see an overview of the hazards that overwork causes which range from fatigue and sleep-deprivation to lower output levels which make it hard to perform at a high cognitive level.

  • Alexandra Michel, a former Goldman Sachs associate published a nine-year study of two big investment banks. The bankers Michel studied started to break down in their fourth year on the job. They suffered from depression, anxiety, and immune-system problems, and performance reviews showed that their creativity and judgment declined.
  • In another similar study, by the sixth year of their employment, the participants, now in their mid-30s, had split into two camps: the 60% who remained “at war” with their bodies, and the remaining 40% who decided to prioritize their health, meaning they paid more attention to sleep, exercise and diet and set limits on how much they allowed work to consume them.
  • This is not limited to financial institutions as about 73% of county public defender offices reported to have exceeded the maximum recommended limit of cases.
  • Also, levels of depression, anxiety and stress among attorneys are significant, with 28%, 19% and 23% experiencing mild or higher levels of depression, anxiety and stress, respectively.

It is not as if Consulting and Auditing firms haven’t really tried to make amends to this. From mandatory time off to maximum weekly work hours,  a lot of measures have been enforced. But as stated before, most of these changes remain in fixing things from the ‘work culture’ realm of  things, which does not change unless their nature of work itself does.

Resource Management though, is a pragmatic solution that deals with making sure that every project begins with enough resources on them. Every resource’s predetermined optimal output is measured and the aim is to only make sure that the level is reached. Further, output is measured in terms of project’s impact and success. Managers can also correlate output levels and project quality directly and thus measure optimal utilization on terms other than just long hours.

Resource Rethink

A robust Resource Management tool can do all this and more. Simply put, Resource Management can really help such organizations gain perspective on quality of productivity and output delivered. They can be leaner, earn better ROI and retain their best employees.

In addition, when you choose Saviom, you can not only visualise your entire resource pool and work, but also optimise the output of your workforces.  Its intuitive multifaceted features are designed to tackle all your planning and scheduling woes irrespective of the magnitude or the level of detailing involved. All in all, enough has been spoken about work culture problems across industries. It is time that you armed yourselves with real-data to solve them.

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Aakash Gupta

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