No Joke: 3.3 People to Change a Light Bulb

Survey reveals dissatisfaction with facilities workplace services, potential negative impact on employee productivity

Survey reveals dissatisfaction with facilities workplace services, potential negative impact on employee productivity

Foster City, CA — October 15, 2003 — Tired of waiting for the facilities people to get around to changing that flickering fluorescent bulb that's driving you nuts?

You're not alone, according to a new survey that revealed relatively high levels of dissatisfaction with workplace services such as heating adjustments, office moves and, of course, light bulb changes.

The poll of 1,000 people, conducted by Internet surveyor TNS for newScale, a provider of service delivery management solutions, found that 27 percent of respondents were dissatisfied with the time it takes to change burned-out light bulbs.

Highlighting the growing belief that day-to-day workplace services are handled inefficiently, survey respondents noted it takes an average of 3.3 people to change a burned out light bulb at a large company. In fact, 34 percent of respondents estimated that it takes four to 10 people to handle all aspects of this routine task.

"Maybe we have finally answered the age-old question of how many people it takes to change a light bulb," said Scott Hammond, CEO of newScale. "These findings indicate that there are serious inefficiencies in the way most organizations handle routine facilities requests. These inefficiencies represent a drain on corporate productivity and increased frustration among employees who are already stretched too thin."

Feel like your cubicle is turning into an ice cube? That's not surprising, since 32 percent of respondents were unhappy with how heat adjustment requests are handled. And if you're wondering when you'll finally get to move into that corner office, consider the 22 percent of respondents reporting that employee moves are not accommodated on a timely basis.

Elsewhere in the survey, 16 percent of respondents cited problems getting ID badges or access keys, and a whopping 43 percent were unhappy with how their computer and network services are handled at work.

In response to an open-ended question about workplace support services, respondents cited long wait times and lost productivity. Respondents declared that they often wait several days or even weeks to have routine requests answered, such as adjusting temperature controls or fixing a broken filing cabinet.

All this time spend waiting for things to get fixed could be having an impact on companies' bottom lines, according to Michael Bell, a research director with technology consultancy Gartner. Time, Bell notes, is money, and from an employee's perspective, this is particularly true in a business environment that is relentlessly competitive, cost-constrained and demanding ever-faster processes for sensing and responding to threats and opportunities.

"People increasingly demand tools, services and support infrastructure that collapse process time," Bell said. "Time to seek and synthesize information, time to communicate with colleagues and customers, time to procure critical resources and time to deliver against goals and objectives."

For its part, newScale offers solutions that the provider says can help companies better manage internal services and also reduce the cost of internal service delivery by more than 30 percent, not unimportant considering that research has shown these services consume an average of 15 percent of revenues for the typical large enterprise. (See related story).