Tags: Attract Employers

When a position in your company sits vacant, some business owners feel as though they're saving money. But instead of saving money, you’re almost certainly losing revenue. What’s worse, the true cost of that empty desk could be much more severe than you see on your balance sheet.

Here's how to break down the true costs of that empty desk gathering dust in your office.
Empty Desk Cost #1: Calculate an empty desk’s daily lost revenue.
  1. Step 1 ­ Calculate annual revenue per employee by dividing your annual revenue by the number of employees you have.
  2. Step 2 ­ Calculate daily revenue per employee by taking your annual revenue per employee and then dividing it by 250 (average number of work days per year) to get your daily revenue per employee.
Empty Desk Cost #2: Lost Revenue.

Multiply daily revenue per employee by the number of days that position remains unfilled. Nationwide the average job position is vacant for 36 days. 

So take your daily figure and multiply by 36. This is just the easy balance sheet calculation of lost revenue. This cost only considers how long it takes to get an able person into the chair, it does not account for ramp-up / training time.3-4

Empty Desk Cost #3: Lost efficiency of people performing multiple jobs.

Most jobs require focused attention, and time to make progress in a given role. Requiring an employee to do multiple jobs at once, or "cover" for so and so will likely result in more absenteeism and sick days, or worse: burnout and churn.

If you allow the situation to last too long, frustrated employees will leave your company in droves.

Empty Desk Cost #4: Your customers will feel the pain before upper management does.

Overworked employees mess up more frequently. Customer service takes a direct hit. If the situation is allowed to continue your customers will leave, writing scathing online reviews on their way out the door. That’s sure to hurt revenue, but can also have a lasting impact on new business to replace the churn.

Empty Desk Cost #5: Your competition will sense your weakness and try to crush you.

Business competitors have a knack for identifying and exploiting the vulnerabilities of their competitors. If word gets out that you're running shorthanded (especially if that word comes from a customer), prepare to have to fight to retain every account you have.


Vacant positions, longer than average time-to-fill, and lack of a talent pipeline can all lead to a drastic, even catastrophic, loss of revenue for your firm. Take defensive action early on by effectively marketing your open jobs to ensure that you're never put in a position where you're fighting for revenue by a well-staffed, prepared competitor because you took for granted the "savings" of that empty desk.

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