Are Your Employees Wasting Time at Work?
The old adage says that "time is money," so when employees waste time at work, it decreases productivity and negatively impacts the bottom line.
In 2012, the average employee admitted to squandering nearly two hours of their eight-hour workday, not including lunch or other sanctioned breaks, according to Salary.com. That amounts to a quarter of their day, which is quite significant!
Some of the biggest time wasters include:
- Surfing the Web - According to a recent Salary.com survey, most employees regularly surf non-work-related websites - and 64 percent surf the web daily at work. The survey also found that 46 percent of people search online for a new job while at their current job. The real reason your employees are underproductive is likely because they're shopping online, checking job listings or watching funny YouTube videos.
- Logging onto social media - Advertising Age found that 77% of all employees who have access to Facebook check it at work at least once a day - and about half of all employees use their smartphones to check Facebook while in the bathroom at work.
- Gossiping - While many people spend time chatting online, in-person water cooler chatter is still prevalent in offices nationwide. Employees waste time each day chatting about last night's episode of Scandal, the score of last night's Red Sox game and the latest office politics.
- Holding excessive meetings - "In many offices, employees spend significant portions of their days in meetings, but time spent together is not always productive. In fact, pointless meetings are a terrible time waster," said Patty McGrail, Senior Vice President of Leddy Group. "If it's truly important to hold a meeting, ensure there's a detailed agenda outlining what should be discussed and decided, a hard-stop time, and someone appointed to ensure the meeting stays on track."
- Being sidelined by constant interruptions - Your email chimes constantly, with incoming messages. Your phone beeps incessantly with text notifications. Your phone rings non-stop, and there's a revolving door of co-workers coming by to chat. Suddenly, several hours have passed and you've done nothing but manage the influx of incoming information. This scenario is common: employees spend all day managing emails, calls, texts and visits, and as a result, they can't get anything done!
The main reasons that employees slack off, according to the Salary.com survey, include not feeling challenged, being bored, feeling like they work too many hours, lack of incentives and being unsatisfied with their career.
Employers can improve productivity by:
- Ensuring that employees are satisfied at work. Make sure your team feels challenged, fulfilled, and appreciated. Happy, motivated employees tend to devote more time, energy and enthusiasm to work-related tasks.
- Meeting less. Encourage your team to cut back on the number of meetings - only gathering when it's truly necessary. Instruct managers to keep meetings short and productive.
- Implementing Internet policies. "It's good practice to create, circulate and enforce guidelines on personal Internet use at work. Some organizations opt to block non-work-related sites from company computers. Companies can also install monitoring software to track which websites employees are visiting - and how long they're staying," McGrail said. "Note, though, that employers can't monitor employees' mobile devices, so even if your organization is blocking and monitoring work computers, employees can still be using their personal phones or tablets to go online."
- Encouraging short breaks. It may sound counterintuitive, but encouraging employees to take short breaks throughout the day, may actually make them more focused and productive. Taking a 15 minute walk can help them clear their minds, which could result in fresh new ideas, perspectives and solutions. One of the world's most successful companies, Google, has implemented the "20 Percent Doctrine," allowing employees to spend a fifth of their workday on personally fulfilling projects. The company's leadership said this initiative helped them develop their hugely successful AdSense and Gmail. Now, many other organizations are following suit.
Wasted work time is a problem that impacts companies of all sizes, across all industries. The key to increasing productivity is to increase employees' overall job satisfaction. If your team is happy and motivated, they'll be more likely to concentrate on their job responsibilities - and less likely to be spending time searching online for a new job.
Leddy Group, established in 1994 and a division of Work Opportunities Unlimited, specializes in customized staffing and consulting services for administrative, accounting, and light industrial industries. Headquartered in Dover, NH, Leddy Group’s branches provide client companies in ME, NH, VT and FL with a full range of services that are geared towards enhancing productivity.
For more information, visit www.LeddyGroup.com. For tips, ideas, resources and the latest industry news, visit www.facebook.com/LeddyGroup or www.twitter.com/LeddyGroup.