Similarly, everyone in the military has endured the phenomenon wherein if something actually starts at 0600, each level of supervision pads the time by 10 or 20 minutes. Eventually everyone is standing around doing nothing at 0430. While being on time is important, the idea that labor is free means that the balancing act of cost versus benefit never occurs. The leader balances not getting yelled at for having his people late against no downside to him whatsoever, and tells everyone to come in ridiculously early. If his department had to write checks for that extra 20 minutes, he likely would’ve cut it down to five.
Everything has a cost, whether it’s immediately visible or not. If the military treats labor as if it’s free, the bill eventually manifests itself as poor retention rates, mistakes at work due to fatigue, or negative effects on service members’ lives that eventually carry over to work. [link]