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.

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.

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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.