Idle Time


DEFINITION of 'Idle Time'

Unproductive time on the part of employees or machines as a result of factors beyond their control. Idle time is the time associated with waiting, or when a piece of machinery is not being used but could be. Idle time could also be associated with computing, and in that case refers to processing time.


Time management is extremely important in any business. This includes timing the completion of one project to coordinate with the beginning of another to reduce idle time. For example, if department A is unable to work on assembly because department B has not finished creating the parts required, the two departments need to be synchronized so that this handoff can go more smoothly, thus reducing idle time.

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