Strange Productivity Killers at Work That Impact Performance

June 17, 201510:13 am639 views

Looking beyond the norm, there are some strange productivity killers at work which you may be quite unaware of as a HR manager or you might have paid least attention to it with complete ignorance of the fact that such killers cost productive time.

Despite all the benefits, conveniences, motivation and perks offered to staffers, if you ever wondered why your employees are under performing, then it’s time to take control of the situation on hand and understand the causes that impact performance and productivity of employees.

Some workers are just smart enough to evade work and can go to the extent of hiding in the bathroom or acting on the power of hypnosis, during the actual working hours. In one of the most recent surveys by CareerBuilder, employers discuss on the most common productivity killers at work.

Some companies seek to look beyond to understand and seek mechanisms that employees devise to waste time, while the clock keeps ticking at work.

Killing Time

Thanks to the Smartphone era, employees have reason enough to be distracted at work, right at their fingertips with chat messages, texts or the never-ending tweets and Facebook IMs.

Internet on mobile has undoubtedly created a major challenge for HRs to keep a tab on the productive man hours invested by an employee at work vis-a-vis using social media as an excuse to connect with the world of co-workers and other companies.

The obstacles that get in the way of work getting actually done are endless ranging from the most common ones as simple as a phone call, text message, visits to the restroom, lunch hours, emails, meetings, sitting in a cubicle and lot more. The survey cited findings in percentages, as below:

  • Cell phones/texting: 52 percent
  • The Internet: 44 percent
  • Gossip: 37 percent
  • Social media: 36 percent
  • Email: 31 percent
  • Co-workers dropping by: 27 percent
  • Meetings: 26 percent
  • Smoke breaks/snack breaks: 27 percent
  • Noisy co-workers: 17 percent
  • Sitting in a cubicle: 10 percent

Some employees were also caught red handed by employers, performing strange activities while at work, to kill time. Going forward, if such employees are fired or not, depends on the final management call and decision rests in the hands of the HR manager, if to retain such employees. Some of the strange employee behaviours at work as observed by the employers are:

  • Playing video game on cell phone while sitting on a bathroom stall
  • Sleeping on the CEO’s couch
  • Writing negative posts about the company on social media
  • Sending inappropriate pictures to other employees
  • Searching Google for images and videos for personal use
  • Flying drones around the office and making model planes
  • Taking frequent prints of personal documents on an official printer

With these distractions around, even the dedicated staffers get distracted from work and divert focus into tasks of lesser importance. This in turn lowers the morale of colleagues and co-workers in the organisation, because of an employee who doesn’t love his job.

See: Working Less? Then You’re More Productive

Such strange behaviours promote compromised quality of work, influence negativity between the manager and the individual, results in missing deadlines and the obvious, an overall decline in organisational profits.

How do you kill these productivity killers?

Is firing the only way out? According to the survey, nearly 74 percent of employers have taken at least one step to mitigate the productivity killers at work – by blocking certain internet sites, scheduling lunch and break hours, limiting meeting hours, monitor internet and email use, by allowing people to telecommute and preference to working in an open space area instead of cubicles. This helps promote employee interaction and engagement with other co-workers.

Turn Procrastination into Productivity

Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer of CareerBuilder says, “The good news is, taking breaks from work throughout the day can actually be good for productivity, enabling the mind to take a break from the job at hand and re-energize you. The trick is finding the right (work-appropriate) activities that promote – rather than deplete – energy.”

Haefner further offers tips for productive procrastination. These include:

  • Set a definite ending time for “play breaks” and schedule them, such that you have something to look forward to after working really hard during the hours. You will also know when to get back to work post the break.
  • Mingle with productive people. Productivity can be infectious, much like laughter. Always observe the productive co-workers and learn from them to maximise on the time at work and deliver better outcomes.
  • Draw accountability of time on social networking: It is important to draw accountability of time on social networking platforms. If at times, you’re not pepped up to start work on a project, you can try posting on the Facebook wall what you intend to accomplish in few hours. This will motivate you to work harder and set pace against time, while being socially accountable.
  • Practice walking. If you find difficulty to concentrate, practice walking for 10-20minutes. Researches prove that light exercise with few breaks allow the brain to re-energize and can result in sharper cognitive function.

Strange behaviour at times by an employee can be ignored, but if this is a habit, HR managers need to be alert. This could also mean to signify that the employee is no longer interested to work with the company, plans to quit, lacks motivation, does not share the same company vision for a stable future or could be in a state of personal fix.

HR managers should approach the distracted employee in such situations, understand, discuss and resolve the situation timely to establish a productive performance oriented workplace culture.

Also read: Telecommuting: Absent Workers, Productive Office?

Image credits: Gawker Media

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