- Most employees admit to wasting time at work due to multiple distractions, red tapes, unnecessary meetings and inefficient tools and processes.
- Keep meetings short, allow short breaks so your team can unwind and set rules on social media access.
- Invest in proper software and equipment, reward achievements and provide proper training and development.
Over 60% of office workers admit that they waste up to an hour of their work time every day. There are many reasons for that, from talking to colleagues and personal texting, to online activities and opening too many useless work emails.
In many cases, the unproductive time also occurs because the workers haven’t been given the proper tools that they need to perform their jobs – faulty phones, old computers and printers that won’t work, unclear company procedures that take ages to fulfil, and so on.
They’ll take longer to finish a task, leading to inefficient work processes. Fortunately, there are a few fixes you can try to reduce time wasting and even improve the competency and proactiveness of your team.
1. Invest in proper tools
The tools you use for your work can either help your employees succeed or hinder their performance drastically. For instance, old outdated computers and programs take ages to load and save anything, while there are iOS and Android applications that can perform the same tasks for less time.
Old printers and scanners are another bane, which waste precious time in offices. Replacing and upgrading your machinery may seem like a huge investment, but it will pay off in a few short years.
You should also introduce time management tools to your workers, and make using them a mandatory requirement. Digital calendars, time management apps that remind us of various tasks and meetings, tools that help us organise events in categories, share images and files with colleagues, and arrange tasks by priority, these are all things, which are easily accessible and available, even free, so why not use them.
2. Keep meetings short
The typical company meetings take around twice as much time as they should, which reduces the team’s productivity and makes your employees daydream instead of focusing on the tasks at hand. This is why it’s important to keep meetings short and the audience relevant, which means not inviting people who don’t need to be there.
Revise the attendees for each meeting and analyse if it’s necessary for everyone to attend. In addition, it’s good to make a detailed agenda for each meeting and follow it point by point. This way you can avoid any possible distractions and follow a detailed plan, which will ensure maximum benefits from the meeting.
3. Provide employees with short breaks
Surveys show that the majority of the workforce is unable to focus their mind on work for more than an hour or two without any distractions. Studies also show that employees, who receive more free time and flexible working hours, are more motivated to work, which enhances their concentration.
Therefore, providing your employees with a few short breaks of around 5-10 minutes throughout the day can actually help increase their productivity and make them waste less time. Sometimes, unwinding and relaxing help better than scolding and rushing.
4. Limit social media access
This is something that many managers avoid at first, because they don’t want to seem like the bad guy, but statistics show that social media are among the biggest time wasters for companies, so it should be limited. Installing a social media blocker for all company computers will reduce time wasting.
However, limiting access to social media completely will only make employees turn to their phones. A good compromise is to turn the social media blocker off for any scheduled breaks or to install a social media blocker, which gives employees the choice of when to block social media. This way you will provide your employees with the opportunity to check social media, but you will make it clear that it’s not an allowed activity at work.
5. Nurture training and development
Statistics show that over 40% of employees don’t pay a lot of attention to training and their personal development. This is a big mistake for every company, because it not only means it’s not keeping up with the current pace, but it’s also suffering potential waste of intellect and time.
Employees, who don’t receive the necessary training to tend to all their daily tasks, are inefficient and unproductive. As a result, even the work of well-prepared employees will suffer from the actions of those who are not, which will lead to giant losses company-wide. By creating a training culture for everyone, you will avoid all that. Look for lecturers and organise trainings in your office every week on different topics, as you can only win from this.
6. Reward achievements and timely completion
It’s been proven years ago that a goal-oriented bonus structure helps boost the productivity of the team, giving everyone goals to achieve, which helps them stay concentrated on work and waste less time on other things. Harvard Business School did a study recently, which proved that the quarterly bonus system is more efficient than the annual one, because the shorter period keeps employees more occupied and motivated.
7. Provide clear instructions
Most people want to do a good job on a task, but this can be difficult if they don’t receive the necessary instructions. In fact, giving a few simple instructions on how you want the task to be handled can save you hours of wasted time in the long run.
Keep in mind that different people have different needs when it comes to explanations – people who work with you all the time may be able to understand you after a few short words, while others who have no idea about your work process will need more details. Just give instructions the way you’d want to receive them.
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