What does it mean by wasting time at work? It is difficult to be 100% productive at work. 5 minutes on Facebook, 10 minutes to chat with a colleague, your computer crashing for 15 minutes. Did you know that a normal person takes an average of 4 minutes to recover from an interruption and resume where it was in his work? Bitted end to end, these few minutes turn quickly into hours.
According to a survey carried out by salary.com in 2014, 89% of workers would lose daily time at work. Of these, more than 60% lose between 30 minutes and one hour each day, and 4% lose at least half their working day on unrelated tasks. Scary, is not it?
7 – Ways you are Wasting Time at Work
The causes of wasting times at work are multiple, and contrary to what one might think, social media and the use of the Internet for personal purposes are not the only reasons. Here is a list of the different factors of lost time at work and the solutions to stop it.
- Discussions with Colleagues
Your 10-minute coffee breaks are lengthy because of a discussion between colleagues, which is often irrelevant to your current tasks. This is one of the most common causes of lost time at work.
If a working discussion extends to the coffee break, continue with a meeting with all interested parties. On the other hand, if your colleague talks about his holidays in detail, shorten the conversation nicely and propose to meet you at the lunch break.
It is essential to interact with colleagues to foster a good atmosphere at work, create team cohesion, find solutions and encourage creativity. Consider organizing a team lunch regularly.
- The problem of Open Spaces
The open spaces are open offices, designed to facilitate communication between employees. However, the hubbub that reigns constantly there is a nuisance that prevents being productive. Ringtones of fixed and portable phones, din of the printer, music of some, conversations of others, not to mention the incessant interruptions … In short, it becomes difficult to work effectively under these conditions.
An Actineo survey conducted in September 2015 revealed that 92% of respondents felt that their workspace had an impact on their effectiveness, and more than half (57%) said they were disturbed by noise pollution caused by conversations.
If possible, ask to return to an office with walls and a door. Otherwise, isolate yourself in a meeting room when you need concentration or wear ear plugs.
- Internet Surfing for Personal Purposes
This is one of the most important causes of lost time at work. Facebook, YouTube and Wikipedia are among the most visited sites. Whether it’s to check the weekend weather, look for a recipe for the evening meal or check out the cinemas, it’s easy to be tempted when all the information is just a click away. Not to mention personal communications (texting, Facebook and phone calls) on his mobile phone.
Store your phone and, if possible, turn off the wifi to avoid temptation. Impose limits and do your research and personal communications during your lunch break.
- Computer Hardware Failing
Today, computers and new technologies have become indispensable and indispensable tools. The concern is that there are (too often) computer bugs, breakdowns and slow networking. These technical problems can lose up to 30 minutes per day, which equals 109 hours per year, or more than 2 weeks of work lost each year.
It is essential to have a network and computer equipment that is recent and efficient, updated regularly and a good IT service composed of technicians efficient and responsive.
- Unnecessary meetings
In a meeting, you tend to daydream, doze or do something else? The problem surely does not come from you, but from the meeting itself. Lack of objective, absence of agenda, length of time, participants not concerned by the subject: more than one meeting out of two is a bad meeting. Unnecessary for the participant as for the organizer, it generates a considerable loss of time.
The meeting is a necessary communication and coordination tool in project management, but to be effective, it must be properly prepared, with a clear objective and a well-defined agenda. Avoid wasting your time and attend only the meetings needed to advance your work.
- Too many Emails to Process
We have all become addicted to e-mail to communicate at work. Easy, fast and convenient, it avoids taking the phone or moving, and allows keeping a written record of exchanges. The problem? Every day we receive an incredible amount of emails, most of which are irrelevant or relevant to our work. And above all, we systematically interrupt our work to consult an email that has just arrived. This is how you lose precious minutes throughout the day.
Check your emails at fixed times every day. Avoid long discussions by email and privilege face-to-face or phone to quickly solve problems. If necessary, send a short summary email avoiding putting the whole company in a copy.
- Disorganized Workspace
Your desk is invaded by stacks of folders. Post-it notes and flyers are spread out everywhere. And we do not even talk about the contents of your computer. Difficult to find oneself and to be productive in these conditions. In addition, you lose a lot of time finding a document.
Store and organize your office, file folders and print only if necessary. Use technology: there are many software and applications that allow you to efficiently organize you’re working documents in order to find them easily.
At work, one loses valuable minutes regularly, voluntarily (by surfing the Internet for personal purposes) or involuntarily (because of endless meetings). These losses of time represent a financial loss for the company. They also promote stress accumulation and unnecessary pressure for employees who lack time to accomplish their tasks and achieve their goals. It is therefore essential to identify and limit them.