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The Biggest Time Suckers in an Organisation (and How to Remove Them)

Say No To Distractions placard isolated on white background.

Busi­ness­es of all sizes seek to improve pro­duc­tiv­i­ty. With moti­vat­ed staff who don’t waste any time, it seems like there are more hours in the day — and more pounds in the pock­et of the organisation.

But there are a num­ber of things that plague offices around the world, sap­ping effi­cien­cy and moti­va­tion. Whether it’s spend­ing time on mobile phones or an inef­fec­tu­al per­for­mance man­age­ment sys­tem, it’s like­ly that your com­pa­ny could ben­e­fit from mak­ing some changes.

With the help of our lat­est info­graph­ic, let’s take a look at some of the biggest time suck­ers in an organ­i­sa­tion — and how to remove them.

Infographic illustration about 9 of the biggest time suckers in an organisation.

Low Employ­ee Motivation

On the sur­face, the biggest time wasters in an organ­i­sa­tion seem to be things such as:

  • Per­son­al social media use
  • Non-work-relat­ed phone calls
  • Inap­pro­pri­ate inter­net usage
  • Exces­sive absenteeism

The real­i­ty is most of these things are exag­ger­at­ed, such as absen­teeism, which pales in com­par­i­son to the cost of pre­sen­teeism. The oth­er time-wasters” on that list usu­al­ly have a deep­er root cause: low motivation.

If employ­ees aren’t engaged or moti­vat­ed, they look for oth­er modes of dis­trac­tion. Whilst that might come in the form of using mobile phones or social media, it’s futile to pun­ish the action with­out address­ing the cause. Things like intro­duc­ing incen­tives and con­tin­u­ous per­for­mance man­age­ment can have a huge effect on moti­va­tion. If your staff have reg­u­lar­ly updat­ed goals — com­bined with reg­u­lar feed­back — then they’ll be more switched on at their desks.

The Email Epidemic

A self-report sur­vey from the US found that office work­ers spend an aver­age of 4.1 hours check­ing work emails each day. That amounts to 20.5 hours per week and over 1,000 hours per year. Ded­i­cat­ing such a huge chunk of time to emails means that oth­er work gets pushed down the peck­ing order.

Many com­pa­nies are reject­ing email in favour of instant mes­sag­ing, with soft­ware such as Slack becom­ing increas­ing­ly more pop­u­lar. The struc­ture of these appli­ca­tions means that time isn’t wast­ed on writ­ing Dear John” and Regards, Sue” in every mes­sage, and employ­ees can cre­ate chan­nels to talk about spe­cif­ic topics.

Get­ting rid of email might seem like a big step, but the new gen­er­a­tion is embrac­ing this change. For many com­pa­nies, espe­cial­ly those who hire remote employ­ees, instant mes­sag­ing is a mas­sive time saver.

The Prob­lem With Meetings

It’s a well-doc­u­ment­ed prob­lem, but meet­ings are still a colos­sal waste of time — in most cas­es. As with email, they are accept­ed because they are part of the fur­ni­ture” and a sym­bol of tra­di­tion­al office life. In real­i­ty, they are rarely pro­duc­tive, with man­agers say­ing that 30% of meet­ing time is wasted.

To improve the use­ful­ness of meet­ings, think care­ful­ly about the aim of each one. Set out an agen­da that will lead to a clear and mea­sur­able result. Only invite those who have a stake in the sub­ject of the meet­ing and don’t use all of the allot­ted time if you don’t need it. Too often, employ­ees don’t know why they’re present in cer­tain meet­ings. In those instances, all that hap­pens is their pro­duc­tiv­i­ty is inter­rupt­ed.

Inef­fi­cient Per­for­mance Management

Annu­al appraisals are usu­al­ly dread­ed by every­one involved. Man­agers spend hours prepar­ing and car­ry­ing them out, whilst employ­ees fear being reproached, lec­tured or patro­n­ised. Those at the top of the organ­i­sa­tion, mean­while, loathe the impact of all those wast­ed hours.

So why do we per­sist with this inef­fec­tu­al system?

Well, as with emails and meet­ings, they’re seen as the done thing. In real­i­ty, though, there are more effec­tive sys­tems that address both the issues at hand and don’t take up days of pre­cious time. Mov­ing to a con­tin­u­ous per­for­mance man­age­ment sys­tem will let you track and encour­age employ­ee growth on a reg­u­lar basis. Instead of wait­ing for a year to see how they are pro­gress­ing, employ­ees are giv­en con­stant feed­back, which has been shown to improve pro­duc­tiv­i­ty.

If you’re look­ing to boost pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and engage­ment, book a demo with Clear Review today. Our con­tin­u­ous per­for­mance man­age­ment soft­ware will help get the best out of your employ­ees and improve your bot­tom line.