Taking our minds off work, at work, drives down productivity and adds unknown time to projects sprinting toward a deadline. Using time wasters at work is a detriment to overall business growth. But not all of them are as terrible as they seem.
Here are the worst ways to use your work hours while on the job, and some solutions that might limit their harmful effect.
Gossip Gossip Gossip
Depending on your industry and company makeup, gossip may be unavoidable. Extrovert salespeople aren’t always the news bearer, but their personalities make for a more spirited debate. Also, if there is too much scuttlebutt, coworkers may feel either left out, annoyed or unable to focus on tasks at hand based on preexisting social anxieties.
The Solution: Some people are born to chew the fat. Your job shouldn’t be to rein them in all the time., you still want that firebrand personality leading your sales teams. If you find things are going off the rails, lay down some ground rules. Topics to avoid include confrontational news stories, politics, and client relations.
The urge to pick up your smartphone and browse the latest Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram feed is strong. Sometimes, it’s even stronger than the urge to stay employed, which is a shame because of how little enjoyment or gratification we receive from it. How do we eliminate social media usage while on the clock? Do we throw our phones in a safe or turn off all notifications? Not bring them into the office? We don’t because we can’t.
The Solution: If you’re in marketing, feeds are the lifeblood for reputation management. Sales? Phone calls and information searches. Creative types? Inspiration. Management? News, current events, market watches. Our world is now updating every second, and we can see it all. However, it’s what we should look at what’s important. For every negative feed, there is an alternative.
LinkedIn is the leading professional network that helps businesses grow with all the features of social interaction and newsgathering. Instagram can get tedious and spammy, but Pinterest offers creative outlets that have value for replication and branding. If something tries to get you to add puppy dog ears, it’s best to avoid it at all costs.
Open Office Concepts
Working in an open office creates camaraderie among the workforce. It also creates noise and stress. And privacy concerns for your more socially anxious team members.
The Solution: Add close-door space to your open concept. If you’re in one big room, do not make working in said room mandatory. We all have our best productivity methods, so allow your employees to work outdoors or remotely.
If you read this and started tidying up your desk, we apologize. A messy desk may be a sign of genius, but the cleanup we’re talking about stems from project management. One of the hidden time wasters at work is our ability to veer off target or procrastinate when left with* our own devices and without a plan.
The Solution: There are ways to create order without fostering monotony. Nobody wants to feel like a cog in the wheel, but too much project discipline can remove the creativity and imagination necessary to solve work problems. Task management software like Asana or Zoho can drastically improve your team’s ability to stay on target without sending you back to 1984.