You may think that a few minutes of wasted time here or there is not so bad for your business. But when it comes to chronic inefficiency, wasting time suddenly goes from a minor by-product to a big workplace problem. The bad business of wasting time is a serious issue for businesses large and small. Working to identify those time-wasting factors can boost your business productivity far more than you might expect.
Want to combat time-wasting? Here are some of the biggest culprits to look out for:
Shiny new distractions
From up-and-coming projects to new office initiatives, a million different new distractions take our minds off the relative flatline nature of our jobs. The more time you spend on jumping on new projects, task forces, and committees, the more you’re wasting on the set-up and ramp-up when you could be working through the meat of your current work. Reduce distractions, and better productivity will soon follow.
Constant email availability
Emails and IMs are an incredible tool for instant connectivity, but not so much for maintaining your attention. With many workplaces requiring staff to jump on emails or check back as often as possible, you are wasting precious minutes on work that you could do in bulk. Strip away the immediacy that emails demand, and you will soon find far greater efficiency in getting essential tasks done.
One too many meetings
Even before the era of the Zoom Meeting, many workplaces used meetings as the one true way to get your point across. But too much time spent in meetings, waiting for meetings, getting to meetings, and listening to more irrelevant parts of said meetings take away from work that needs doing, especially if you need to read an email recap after the meeting is finished. We are just exhausted from writing the word meeting so much.
A disorganized workplace means you spend twice as long finding the resources you need. Whether it is a messy office, poor digital filing, or simply a lack of attention to detail, disorganization can significantly impact how quickly things get done. This is especially true for project work where other people or customers may, in turn, be wasting time by waiting on that one resource to be sourced or file to be uncovered.
Lack of clarification and signposting in management
Time wasting is not just a problem that affects the lowest rung of workplaces. Inefficient management in handling the people who work for you can be just as much of a problem as your day-to-day work. Any employee who has heard ‘figure it out for yourself’ has wasted time trying to do just that. Clarification, clear signposting, and transparency in the assignment of tasks can save a considerable amount of time and help to make sure the work is done right the first time.
Spending quality time not working
You may think that working too much is not a waste of time at all. But long stints of all work, no play can lead to a big drop in productivity, whether we like it or not. Spending properly portioned time not working means we have the energy and focus on reducing procrastination and getting vital work finished as quickly as possible. With a bit of extra rest, you might find you get far more for your money in terms of efficiency and productivity.
Time wasting in the workplace does not have to be a universal issue. However, with a little tweak to how things work and a little extra training, making your workplace leaner, faster, and far more efficient is easier than you may think. Starting with our points above is an excellent place to begin.
By Ellis Bledsoe, Principal Owner ECB Solutions, LLC