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How employees waste their time at work and tips to minimize them

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Almost 90% of employees admit that they lose time at work. Golly! Employees who lose time at work are bad for business, whether you own a small business with just a handful of employees or are responsible for the productive management of a large corporate department.

Employees are deployed based on their strengths and skills management, sales, engineering, processing, training, marketing, customer relations.

But do they always follow their job description exactly?

The simplest way for a manager is to blame employees for time lost at work due to poor time management, resulting in quality losses and missed deadlines. This leads to poor customer service, strained internal relationships and, ultimately, loss of business.

If left unchecked, this can become a nightmare for HR staff, who are then overwhelmed by performance and discipline problems, above-average staff turnover and ongoing recruitment to fill vacancies. This is why it is so important to first determine why employees are wasting time and then take the right steps to prevent this from happening again in the future.

How do employees waste their time at work?

According to recent surveys;
4% admit to writing an SMS or using the phone
almost 35% waste their time playing games or shopping on the Internet
43% of employees admit that they talk to their colleagues (instead of working)

For most people, a working day can be divided into different categories. The top category is the time spent on activities that support the primary role for which they were specifically assigned.

At the same time, employees are sometimes asked to do other tasks that are not essential to their role, but they feel that they cannot say “no” to them. For example, many managers find that up to a quarter of their day is spent on administrative tasks.

Then there are the “necessary” activities that are planned during the working day, such as coffee and lunch breaks, washroom breaks, trips to customers’ homes or simply taking a few minutes off the computer screen to stretch limbs, protect eyes and recharge batteries.

But there are many other things besides these activities that waste employees’ time and therefore affect their productivity.

1. Take personal time outside the working day

Employees who take time for themselves outside the working day can be a significant problem for some managers. They might be

  • Making personal phone calls;
  • Extending their official pauses by a few minutes on each side;
  • Making long personal calls at the water cooler, or
  • by taking an unacceptable number of smoking breaks

NOW everyone has personal problems from time to time that need to be treated with sympathy, but having strategies for wasting time will pay off in productivity.

One strategy is to ensure that all job descriptions and daily, weekly and long-term objectives are clear and specific.

Another is to take steps to maintain a positive work culture within the office. When your employees know exactly what is expected of them and can see that everyone is working towards a common goal, hard work is encouraged and time wasted is reduced.

This has the dual benefit of allowing you to immediately identify time-consuming activities and giving your staff the opportunity to bring problems to your attention before they get out of hand.

2. Social networks and the Internet

  • Booking their next vacation,
  • Organizing the weekly shop,
  • Just catch up on social media messages

can all intrude on employees’ time and are things that should not happen during working hours.

Employee education is probably the best way to address this issue.

A little advice: remind them that nothing they do on the Internet is guaranteed to remain private, while at the same time encouraging them to complete their assigned tasks on time.

Checking and replying to e-mails can also interfere with daily office life.

An immediate response to e-mails is rarely essential.

Tip: Encourage your employees to disable email notifications when working on a task, and train them to set aside a block of time once or twice a day to process new messages.

3. Not being able to say “no” or delegate

A good team wants to be supportive and helpful to its members, but it can sometimes be counterproductive to never say “no” to requests during the working day.

Encourage team members to set firm boundaries and focus on their own tasks and goals.

Use team-building sessions to train them in polite and affirmative forms of “no” so that they can do this without alienating their colleagues.

An additional step is taken when employees are unable to delegate or relinquish control of a task. This can backfire as they try to do too many tasks so that none can be done as well as they could be. Very often tasks such as communication or research can be delegated productively.

4. Poor work habits

There are many work habits that can waste an employee’s time:
  • They can be distracted too easily
  • Have a poor understanding of the task at hand
  • Lack of knowledge of office systems or technology
  • Unable to follow instructions or have poor time management skills
  • They may also be disorganized in their work area

If their sense of organization is weak, deadlines and goals are not met.

Good tip: Regular staff meetings as well as education and training can help to solve these problems.

5. Time loss factors beyond the employee’s control

Did you know that some studies have shown that workers can be interrupted once every 11 minutes? or even more, either by :
  • Stopping to read online news,
  • Receive calls that are not relevant to the task in question, or
  • By people who pass by their workplace or office.

While this situation is easier to manage in a closed office by simply closing the door, it is somewhat more difficult in open-plan offices. Strategies need to be developed that allow employees to know that someone is temporarily unavailable to talk.

6. Too long or unnecessary meetings

Meetings can be very productive, but they can also be a huge waste of time. When management shows employees that it does not expect them to attend unnecessary or overly long meetings, it lets them know that their time is valued. This encourages them to focus on the tasks assigned to them.

Short tip: Make sure that important employees attend meetings and that the agenda is limited in time. By scheduling them first thing in the morning, you avoid distracting attendees from the tasks they have set themselves.

7. Multitasking

While the ability to perform multiple tasks simultaneously can be beneficial in certain circumstances, it very often makes employees less productive.

Did you know that our brain is most effective when it is focused on one thing so that our attention is lost when we have to move from one task to another?

Employees should be encouraged to work on something, either until it is finished or for a certain period of time.

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How to minimize this issue?

The solution to the challenge of wasting time starts with recruitment. If a manager does not have a clear idea of the direction he or she wants to take his or her organization in the future, there is no way to recruit the right people. Many large organizations have clear methods for giving employees the leadership they need to maximize productivity.

Team members must have clear expectations:

Once employees are hired, make sure each member of your team knows exactly what they need to do and how and when they need to do it. Most importantly, each team member needs to understand why they are doing what they are doing. They need to know how what they are doing fits into the vision you are creating.

When people see how what they are doing contributes to the overall effort, it is easier for them to rally behind the cause and see its purpose. Teams that have a goal and recognize their contribution to that goal tend not to get distracted and lose time in their work.

Set, Communicating and Measuring Performance Expectations :

The leader needs to recognize how to set and communicate realistic performance expectations for what needs to be done. This must be done in a way that ensures that the manager and employees have a common understanding of the desired outcome.

Team members must be held accountable for achieving the required objectives:

Once these objectives are set and communicated, the leader must monitor and hold the team accountable for meeting these expectations. If employees know that their performance is measured objectively, consistently and constructively, they are less likely to leave and waste time.

By taking these three important steps, you will significantly reduce the amount of time your employees lose on the job.

Looking for an automated Time Management system?

We suggest IceHrm which is one of the best HRIS systems which has so many HR functions automated into one system.

IceHrm is a Human resource management system for small and medium-sized organizations. This HRM software centralizes employee data and allows only one authorized person to access it, providing a high level of security. The presence module monitors employee time based on information about insertion and perforation. It covers all the basic HRM needs of a company such as Time Management, Training, and Development, Attendance Management, Expense management, leave management, Recruitment management and handling employee information.

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