Work Time Wasters: The Biggest Culprits

By | Posted November 27th, 2012

Have you ever suspected that some of your biggest assets are also your biggest time drains? That’s because the American worker wastes about two hours of every eight-hour day.

If you’re looking for ways to conserve your business’s resources, address these five common time wasters in the American workplace and up the office productivity.

Surfing and Socializing Online

Personal time spent online is by far the biggest time waster, as checking email, reading news, shopping, and visiting social networks is reported work-time behavior by two-thirds of Americans. Facebook is the big time suck. More than one-third of employees admit to indulging in the big blue distraction at the office.

Smartphone Use

A lot of the time online taking place during office hours happens on a mobile device. It’s suspected that the tasks done on a phone are that ones that require the most discretion, such as looking for another job, and online dating. To do these tasks on the sly, employees hide their phones under their desks, use their phones in the restroom, and cover their phones with folders and notebooks.

Socializing with Coworkers

Of course, employees don’t need technology to get their fix of face time. The draw of the water cooler is hard to fight. People spend as much time with coworkers as they do friends and family, so the desire to connect on a personal level is only natural. As much of a time suck as socializing can be, having a friendly relationship with coworkers can also benefit a business because it helps cut down on potential office politics.

Computer Trouble

Technology, intended to make tasks easier, can throw up obstacles of its own. One in ten employees say that problems with computers or software take up their time at work. Despite the bells and whistles, computers are just as likely to fail as the imperfect flesh.

Personal Business and Missing Motivation

Whether or not we’re at the office, life keeps happening around us. Getting things done for spouses, kids, and the home can’t always be relegated outside the 9 to 5. Other reasons American workers point to for mixing personal and professional time are long hours, lacking personal satisfaction, feeling underpaid, and missing incentives.

If you suspect your team is having trouble staying on task, have a chat and collaborate on ways to eliminate distractions during office hours. However, there is an upside to the story of the work time that never was. Many American workers believe that periodic downtime throughout the day helps them be more productive overall.

Ever-present technology is enabling employees to create a new work paradigm where they’re plugged in all the time. We may leave our desk but we take our work with us wherever we go. Instead of blocking the Internet and locking down on time tracking, recognize a new life-work balance and foster the flow.