My attention was drawn to this article that said a manufacturer was marketing to businesses a toilet that was tilted. The idea was to make sitting on it uncomfortable in order to discourage workers from using their toilet breaks to relax and avoid quickly going back to work.
While this was yet another example of the extremes some companies will go to to squeeze more work out of their employees, what grabbed my attention was this part: “Well, apparently going to the toilet is just not productive. In its advertising, StandardToilet estimates that £4bn is lost yearly answering Mother Nature’s call.”
One often sees these estimates about the losses due to some factor (say due to being stuck in traffic or power outages, and so on) but they rarely specify how they arrived at the cost. One method is to take the time that was lost and multiply by the number of workers and the wages per unit time. But how realistic is that as a true estimate of loss? Surely the employee who lounges for a few extra minutes on the toilet will have to still do their work when they get back? Isn’t what we are seeing just a time-shifting of the costs, rather than an actual loss?
It may be that the main purpose of such estimates is as a scare tactic to get employers to buy some product.