Bad habits in the workplace are costly – they waste time, cause annoyance and impede productivity. Her are our five most common office ‘time wasting’ habits and how to combat them.
The BBC reported in 2010 that British workers spend 24 minutes each day fetching or making a tea or coffee, which equates to 190 days of lost productivity over a worker’s lifetime. Whether that’s the frequency of hot drinks that’s the problem, or the time it takes to make one, it’s hard to say but if you feel like your staff are preoccupied with making a cuppa – consider investing in more than one kettle or install a hot water tap for instant boiling water at the push of a button.
Bad meeting practice.
We’ve all seen this happen. A meeting is interrupted. There’s someone on the phone or something needs checking. While that person sorts the issue the rest of you are sat wasting time and twiddling your thumbs. Put a ‘do not disturb’ rule into practice. Unless it’s directly relevant to the meeting (or the office is ablaze) meetings should not be subject to external interruption.
Going up. Going down.
A report from SVM Associates and Stepjockey recently highlighted that each employee loses 15 mins of time each day while waiting for the lift. As more businesses encourage active working and provide collaborative work settings, movement within offices is set to increase and the amount of time wasted will too. The report suggests that if you’re travelling fewer than seven storeys it is far quicker (and certainly better for you) to take the stairs. Encourage your employees to use their legs rather than the lift and, if you know there are high traffic routes through the office, make sure they are clear and easy to pass through.
Stand up instead.
One of the gripes you’ll hear in many offices is how much time is spent in internal meetings. Make every minute really count by holding them standing up. You’ll find people become much more succinct, concise and aware of time. This approach puts the focus back on agreeing actions rather than languishing in chairs.
Some studies have suggested that up to two hours per day are lost due to interruptions. That might be your colleagues wanting to chat, an impromptu meeting or other departments needing your input. Take charge of your day by closing the office door when you need quiet, wearing head phones to minimise noise, switching off your email so you can’t be distracted or the most simple of all, just saying ‘now’s not a good time’ when people collar you.