5 Common Time Wasters At Work And How To Fix Them

Posted on - in Work Productivity

This is a guest post by Annabelle Smyth. If you’re interested in writing for Productivity Theory too, check out our Write For Us page!

Thirty-one percent of employees admitted to wasting 30 minutes a day at work. That number shouldn’t be surprising, but what is surprising is that 4% of employees admitted to wasting 4 or more hours a day at work. That’s nearly half the work day! We’ve identified some of the common time wasters at work and tips to combat them.

1. Paperwork

Thousands of hours are wasted each year on paperwork. We’re talking actual “paper”work. While most companies are turning to cloud based programs to help manage their paperwork. These Software as a Service companies, or SaaS companies, allow companies to get rid of the old filing cabinets and moving everything over electronically. Everything from HR software to project management software, to customer relationship management software.

2. Social Media/Cellphones

Social media has it’s place in a company, but it can also be a detriment. A recent study found that social media at work costs companies an estimated $650 million each year because of loss productivity. While it has been dubbed as the “new smoke break”, employees tend to get sucked into it and lose track of time.

Twenty years ago cellphones weren’t a problem at work. Now, everyone has one and it’s becoming more of distraction. You may not want to do an all out ban on cellphones, because employees have admitted that they’ll just look for ways to check them without getting caught. If you’re constantly checking your phone, try putting it away in your desk and only checking it at lunchtime or on breaks.

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3. Notifications/Emails

Have you ever been working on something and you’re really dialed in, but then the chat icon pops up on your screen and you lose your groove? Constant notifications can kill your productivity. Also, email addiction is a real thing. People are constantly checking their email and making sure that they’re up to date on everything. Avoid checking work email at home as much as you can. Try cutting the amount of times that you check email down to 3 or 4 times a day – morning, lunch, and just before heading home from the office. One reporter even cut her email checking down to two times a day.

4. Multitasking

Are you great at multitasking? Well you may just be good at lying to yourself. Studies have shown that multitasking doesn’t work. Multitasking can result in a 40% loss of productivity. That’s like going from an A to a D. Multitasking and task switching also increases the amount of time it takes to complete a single task  and increases the amount of errors.

5. Meetings

A study by Attentiv found that a startling 63% of meetings had no planned agenda. That just screams “time waster”. Atlassian calculated that unproductive meetings cost U.S. business around $37 billion annually. Experts suggest cutting meeting times down from 30 minutes or an hour, down to 15 minutes if possible. This helps keep everyone focused and you’re not trying to fill up of the rest of the time with filler talk.

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Annabelle Smyth

Annabelle Smyth is a freelance writer who covers everything from HR to technology and leadership skills. She most recently worked with BambooHR. She enjoys learning more about how to make leaders & businesses successful.

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