I am the head of a local university's printing department. Our sales have been sluggish. All of the departments have cut back. When their budget has been cut, they find that they can do without business cards, for example, for their staff. Here is an email exchange between my boss and me today.
Boss: I want you to take a hard look at your staffing level. With the major reduction in business how much excess labor capacity do you think you have? I may look at shifting employees percent efforts.
Me: Is “shifting employees percent efforts” code for moving employees from our department into another one? I foresaw the business reduction back in September. Remember at that time you and I talked about trying to really promote the other areas of our business, and to cultivate an additional base of customers? Let me think about it over the weekend and I’ll stop in on Monday.
Boss: It could be code for moving somebody on a temporary basis anywhere from 10% to 100% depending on need or no need. Any permanent shifts would require longer term analysis. If your November is your January, February and March what would you say?
Me: I do have some ideas. Let me really think about it this weekend and get with you Monday morning.
This economy really needs to get better. Quick! I really don't want to lose any of my staff. Ugh.