Every workplace relies on efficient, productive employees to help ensure the business is operating at full potential. While most organizations understand the negative impact of wasting time at work, it is often challenging for professionals to manage time and resources effectively to accomplish day-to-day tasks.
Time-wasters in the workplace are often a combination of personal and environmental factors that make it challenging for employees to stay focused and productive. Low-value work, social media, unproductive meetings—the average worker spends up to three hours a day distracted from meaningful tasks! Being aware of the factors that lead to wasted time at work is the first step in fixing these issues.
In this blog, we’ll cover the top time-wasters in the workplace as well as how to diagnose and fix these challenges to help promote a more efficient, productive environment for employees.
The impact of wasted time
Workplace interruptions leave employees distracted and unproductive. This lack of engagement and focus has a significant impact on their well-being as well as the organization’s operations. In fact, it’s estimated that only 21% of employees feel highly motivated at work. This means that the rest are struggling to stay engaged and find meaning in their work amidst endless distractions and boring, repetitive tasks.
On the other hand, happy employees who can avoid dangerous time-wasters at work are 12% more productive and can potentially increase an organization’s revenue by 21%. Clearly, helping employees become more focused and engaged by minimizing unnecessary distractions can have a significant and long-term impact.
How to fix the five biggest time-wasters at work
Many employees experience the following time-wasters at work—in fact, nine out of 10 employees admit to wasting time during the day. While these interruptions may be harming your productivity now, knowing which are in your control and how to fix them will ultimately help you become more efficient in the future. Improving your own productivity will help your team deliver the high-quality product or service needed to keep your organization successful and profitable in the long run.
#1: Online distractions
Online distractions are some of the biggest reasons for the loss of productivity at work. More specifically, 80% of employees will admit to wasting time at work each day scrolling through social media. These online outlets as well as simply having easy access to web searches are dangerous distractions due to their accessibility no matter what device you are on or where you are working. It is important for every employee to take charge and overcome these distractions themselves.
How to fix: While there is still debate over whether companies have the right to ban social media, instilling a personal ban during work hours can help improve your focus. Remove temptations to scroll by signing out of social media accounts on work devices. Make it a goal to only check your personal accounts during breaks or lunch. You may also find it helpful to block certain applications or notifications during certain times of the day to minimize distractions.
Working in a cluttered and disorganized environment not only keeps employees from staying productive but can also cause them to miss important deadlines or project updates. A lack of proper time management and organization can quickly lead to information bottlenecks or even missed opportunities. A cluttered workspace does not always mean a messy desk, however. Lack of computer organization for projects, documents, meetings, and more can also make it difficult to stay efficient and productive.
How to fix: Keeping a clean workspace begins by removing anything that is causing clutter, whether physical papers on your desk or digital documents on your desktop. A key part of staying organized is by implementing a time or project management software such as Asana or Trello. These tools not only help with organizing tasks but any key documents as well. You’ll be able to access the right information at any point, without having to dig through piles of papers or endless digital documents.
Did you know? Tidying up your workspace not only improves productivity, but positively impacts your mood, reduces stress, increases focus, and minimizes waste. Learn how to clean your workspace by following these eight simple steps.
Do you pride yourself on being a multitasker? Numerous studies have proven that effective multitasking is actually a myth and only about 2.5% of people have the ability to do so effectively. It may feel like you are being more productive by taking on a coworker’s project or adding another item to your to-do list. But in reality, trying to juggle multiple tasks hinders performance by affecting how efficiently and accurately you can complete each task. While the quantity of work may be increasing, the risk of losing quality for the same work also increases.
How to fix: Don’t try to finish up an email during a meeting or make a phone call while inputting data. Instead, start each day with a list of tasks, calls, and meetings. Organizing your day into segments will allow you to give full focus to each, so you can better stay on track and remain productive. It may also be helpful to set up time blocks to focus on specific projects without being distracted by notifications or unnecessary chatter. Putting an end to multitasking may be a challenge, but it will ultimately help you produce higher-quality work more efficiently.
#4: Work interruptions
Sometimes time-wasting issues are outside of your control, such as the level of noise in your home or office. Or, you may struggle to stay productive amidst numerous meetings, constant notifications, or endless emails. Though it is common for even remote professionals to face these interruptions every day and think nothing of them, these distractions can quickly affect your ability to remain focused. This is especially harmful when the average worker gets interrupted every 15 minutes, while also needing 23 minutes to refocus after a major distraction.
How to fix: Begin by identifying all the different ways you are being interrupted. If you have too many notifications, setting up “do not disturb” time blocks will keep you from being distracted by office chatter. Similarly, it may be helpful to mute notifications at certain times throughout the day. Even if you work from home, investing in noise-canceling headphones can help your mind focus for longer periods of time as well. If you believe you attend more meetings than necessary for your personal role, talk with your team about minimizing these so you can focus more time on your tasks.
#5: Repetitive manual tasks
Perhaps one of the biggest time-wasters employees face at work is repetitive manual tasks. On average, it is estimated that workers waste over 40% of their day on tedious processes like data entry, appointment scheduling, reporting, filing, and invoice management. Even worse, half of all workers stuck with manual tasks believe these processes take away from their main tasks. Often these same employees also feel like manual tasks are a poor use of their talents and skills. This loss of job satisfaction and morale can have costly repercussions for organizations.
How to fix: Many digital tools now exist that can take the burden off of teams by automating manual tasks. Many of these tools help improve project management, correspondence, task organization, and more. If it is too costly to implement such software, you may benefit by creating templates for common processes or documents to help streamline these workflows. Any steps you can take to streamline or automate manual tasks, no matter how small, can have a big impact on your work productivity, efficiency, and even creativity.
Start improving your productivity
You may be discouraged to find that many of these time-wasting activities are harming your day-to-day productivity and overall performance. The good news is that most, if not all of these workplace distractions, can be minimized or even eliminated with the right approach and resources. Our new solution, FormAssembly Workflow, is an ideal solution for streamlining processes, saving time, and improving efficiency. With Workflow, your team can boost productivity and performance with the following benefits:
- Automated data collection: Eliminate time-consuming manual data entry tasks in favor of custom web forms that automatically send customer data to your CRM.
- Enhanced team collaboration: Involve all team members in data collection workflow notifications, so the right information gets to the right person at the right time.
- Improved project organization: Streamline processes involving multiple participants, forms, and actions to keep decision-makers informed and on the same page.
If you are curious to explore how FormAssembly Workflow can help enhance your team’s performance and productivity, watch our recent webinar at the link below to see a demo of this powerful solution in action.