Time is money. And when it comes to having a productive workplace, an office can unwittingly be filled withthat could cost a company a fortune in lost hours of employee output.
There are myriad causes of poor employee output in the workplace, and here we’ve identified the three main reasons, as well as addressing how to beat them to ensure a happy and productive business.
A humorous name for an office pandemic. Cyberloafing is the frivolous name given to the act of employees indulging in online browsing and instant messaging that’s unrelated to their workload.
According to a 2013by academics, Joseph Ugrin and John Pearson, U.S. employes can spend between 60% and 80% of their time online accessing websites that weren’t relevant to their office tasks.
found that web surfing while at work costs businesses over $200 billion per year, while also stating that three out of four employees visit social media sites like Facebook every day.
The problem with cyberloafing is that it’s hard to counter without turning the office into some kind of Orwellian high-surveillance compound. Blocking out the “offending” websites like social media giants Facebook and Twitter help restore focus, but unless you’re planning on confiscating mobile phones and around 5,000 other popular procrastination-friendly sites, cyberloafing will remain rife.
But as Will Sturgeon writes in ZDNet, this is merely a sign of a larger issue. Cyberloafing deeply affects businesses with low staff morale and low job satisfaction.
Sturgeon points to a survey carried out by Silicon that suggests 32% of employees believe that it’s the lack of motivation that’s the main obstacle facing productivity in business.
This indicates that the best way to combat cyberloafing is to keep employees engaged and motivated. This is often seen as difficult to implement, but by encouraging more community and social events within the company, you can go some way to affirming workforce satisfaction as well as removing the need for resorting to social media channels for escapism.
Imbalance in working environment
There are all sorts of factors that can result in poor productivity among your workforce, and a surprising number of them are related to the type of environment they’re operating in.
According to SeatsandStools, only one in four employees in the US work in an office that’s designed to maximize productivity.
The online seat retailer found that noise pollution was a big culprit – accounting for a 66% drop in reading and writing efficiency from staff working in a noisy office.
Apparatus also ranked highly. Employees that use a single monitor computer are found to be 50% less productive than those that use multiple displays. Furthermore, their seats need to be optimized for productivity. Having an employee’s desk chair set so that the individual is at eye-level to the top of their monitor and positioned around 30 inches from the screen with a slight recline is considered ideal for output – preventing potential spinal injuries through continual slouching in the process.
You should also be mindful of other less-obvious factors. The peak productivity temperature is considered to be between 22 and 23 degrees Celsius (around 73 degrees Fahrenheit), which is between two and eight degrees higher than the average office temperature. It’s also vital that appropriate air conditioning systems are in place. In the U.S., it’s estimated that employers lose $15 billion a year thanks to worker inefficiency and sick leave owing to badly recycled air.
Natural light also plays a part in influencing productivity. There is a 15% decline in task focus among employees working in windowless offices compared to those that operate in a workplace with windows.
Many companies are embracing the idea of operating on a clear desk policy. This not only makes the workplace look much cleaner and smarter for potential clients but greatly reduces disorganization among employees who waste time simply by trying to find documents and other misplaced information.
Lack of communication
HR Magazinethat 46% of employees have been left feeling uncertain of a task delegated to them by their manager or line manager, while an astonishing 37% say they experience uncertainty over their work between one and three times a day.
The magazine goes on to claim this confusion caused by translucent communication causes employees to believe that they are losing around 40 minutes of productivity every day in wasted time – a number that really adds up when spread across a company of 200 people.
The dangers of a lack of communication run deeper than time wasted through employee uncertainty. It can lead to not only missed deadlines but considerable demotivation and stress among your workforce, which can be a prime cause of the aforementioned cyberloafing. If working remotely, let’s say in an online business or, communication becomes absolutely crucial.
There’s also a chance of friction being caused among employees and their line managers as a result – an unwanted distraction all round when the looming specter of a project deadline hangs over the task force.
Luckily, there are many measures to take that improves communication in the workplace. Team building exercises help increase employee/employer approachability while personality assessments like FIRO-B (Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation) and MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) can teach managers how to approach and delegate to individuals as well as how staff prefers to process information – whether it be verbally, visually or in writing.
The best and most simple way is to increase the frequency of communications between employee and employer. By holding quarterly one to ones and yearly appraisal meetings where staff is invited to share their concerns and ideas, you can learn much more about how they operate and what way is best to communicate with them. Encourage staff to follow up their delegations by asking their workforce how they’re getting on, and if there is anything that can be done to help them improve.
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