Productivity In Business

Productivity In Business

By John Bailey | May 2, 2020

Parkinson’s Law uses the adage that “work expansion is possible so as to fit the time required for its completion.” This could be at play in your business and is often recognised when you are low on staff but you still manage to somehow produce the same output. Have you ever seen this in your business?

Parkinson’s Law Explained

Across industries, this provision should not be referred to by setting unreasonable deadlines. As Cyril Northcote Parkinson said in his essay entitled, The Economist, “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” The time you are given determines your plan.

Therefore, Choices and Trade-offs are made when the deadline is near. These must be done so that the task is accomplished by the deadline. Parkinson reiterated that all projects require time and more complex ones typically take more time to get done. Look at it from a perspective when you are completing a project and working on an extremely aggressive timescale. The upside of dealing with this situation is that you tend to explore approaches and techniques. These are strategies that can expedite the project in less time.

A Different View

However, people often create a more complicated task than what is necessary so that they can fill the time. This is the opposite point of view when looking into Parkinson’s Law to avoid unreasonable deadlines. For instance, take the case of a particular task that is more like a 4-hour project yet you are given 8 hours for completion. Most likely, it will take the 8 hours to finish the task as the deadline stated.

In this scenario, you make the task more complex than it is just so you can comply with or fill the time. People allocate more time to a task than what is typically needed. One of the reasons is to build a buffer regardless of its significance to the task. Or in some cases, people simply have an exaggerated idea of the exact length of the project or task. There is often an inflated perspective on how long a project will take because of previous experience regarding the current task.

Only when people are put to the test that they realise how some tasks are quick to complete. Some projects can be done with minimal time scale and shorter deadlines. Contrary to the Parkinsons Law adage, these tasks require a shorter completion period yet the quality of the output is maintained.

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