But it’s usually more than just the direct costs of the workers.
Low productivity means more workers are required, which adds additional costs for accommodation, transport, mobilisation and supervision. Poor productivity also impacts the schedule which can result in the client imposing penalties for late completion as well as the contractor incurring additional overhead costs.
Poor labour productivity is sometimes obvious when there are people standing idle on site. However, often the poor productivity isn’t picked up before there are delays to the schedule, or the cost reports show labour losses. Usually by then it’s too late to rectify the problem.
It’s imperative to analyse why there’s poor productivity. There’s some truth in the saying ‘a busy worker is a happy one’. Workers who are idle tend to chat to colleagues, even influencing and interrupting others who are working, and start to see and create problems where there weren’t problems before.
(Read next week's article on the possible causes of poor productivity.)