‘Give me 10 minutes. I’ll start organising those old files, once I finish watching this cooking demo.’
The New Year 2017 was supposed to come with everything new as well. New resolution, new targets, new expectations, new spirit, and a new working attitude. However, what happened to the employees? Because of post-holiday blues, some people seem not so eager to get back to their daily work routines and instead procrastinate tasks that should have been completed. If you witness similar conditions at work, then it’s important that you take immediate action to eliminate the culture of procrastination.
In general, procrastinating is when someone puts off something that should be their main focus, by turning their attention to other activities which are usually more pleasant or convenient to be done. Employees procrastinate for many reasons. Some of them are due to adjustments after a long vacation, boredom from routine, lack of motivation, or maybe they are doing the wrong thing that is not their true passion.
The problem however is, sometimes an employee does not realise that they are trapped in a circle of procrastination. They will only realise it when deadlines are not met, goals are overlooked, and important appointments are missed.
It is true that everyone does procrastinate at some point of time in their life. However, prolonged procrastination will not bring good impact to business sustainability in the long run. On the contrary, procrastination is one of the main reason behind employee’s’ poor performance at work.
While procrastination can only be cured at the will of one’s own self, here are tips for HR leaders to do away with the long-term effects of procrastination and try meeting the deadlines on time in 2017:
See: The Employee Burnout Crisis: One of the Biggest Workplace Challenge in 2017
A problem cannot be solved unless the roots are discovered first. When you find that employees are always late in finishing their tasks or not being able to collect the report properly on time, you need to discover the reasons why procrastination surfaces and work suffers in the long run.
As mentioned earlier, there are many reasons why people procrastinate. For example, if an employee is made to perform a task that is not their area of expertise or is not motivated to accomplish the goals. Another instance, could be when they need to readjust their mental balance and aptitude for work after a long break. Therefore, as a leader you need to evaluate any possible causes for this laziness and lethargy at work displayed.
The way one starts their day could be very influential on how they will live out rest of their days. Therefore, it is very important to use early minutes at the workplace with something that can foster motivation and set good mood. To get in the right mood for work, you need to encourage employees to directly log into the workstation upon their arrival at work.
Block out any distractions during the first half of the day that lead to procrastination. However at first, you might want to check emails for 5 minutes, after which check the latest news for 10 minutes, and then check social media notifications for 20 minutes. The time could keep accumulating and without realisation, there could be many wasted hours and lack of motivation to get their job done for the day.
To prevent such happenings, encourage employees to alter their time-wasting activities by practising mini-exercises such as stretching and simple yoga movement for the first 10 minutes. This will not only help them focus on work, but would also get them relaxed and ready to face challenges for the day.
There are times when people start procrastinating because they want to escape certain circumstances, such as tight deadlines or piling paperwork. At first, they might want to get some entertainment before finally completing the tasks, towards the end it turns out to be an acute case of prolonged procrastination.
Therefore, it is highly recommended not to give too much workload to the employees. This can be done by breaking down tasks into smaller chunks that are easier to solve. Help employees to prepare a smart to-do list created based on the priorities and deadline commitments, so that they can manage their time more wisely.
The lack of appreciation for work done is often becoming the sole reason behind procrastination. To ensure this does not happen, you need to evaluate if you have given your employees equivalent rewards and recognition for their achievements.
The reward does not always have to be in the form of compensation or bonuses, it could also be positive feedback and recommendation for future career promotion.
Despite any of the efforts above to encourage better employee habits, there are some employees who tend to procrastinate it’s their nature by now. If you intend to diminish the ill effects of this habit, you can do so by reminding them of the consequences in case of procrastination and any costs that might eventually arise.
For example, remind them on how the whole team is affected by their lack of action to execute their daily jobs such as being late to collect work report, or how this habit could lead to bad assessment of an individual during performance appraisal.
Read also: Effective Ways to Motivate Underperformers