Are Your Employees Wasting Half of Every Workday?

BY Kathy Crosett
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Nobody likes to believe they waste four hours on a daily basis. No manager wants to hear this kind of news, either. Yet, workday interruptions are constant. If you want to develop a culture of increased productivity, you’ll need to lead by example and through recognition.

In an article for Business Journals, Tom Salonek reminds readers of well-​known advice: most of us get 80% of our important work done in 20% of our time. Yet, we're still falling short of completing our goals. To improve productivity, you may want to suggest some guidelines, starting with internal communication.

We can be reasonably certain that tools like Slack aren’t going away. These communication systems allow employees to quickly ask and answer each other’s questions. On the other hand, overuse of Slack-​like tools also guarantees nearly constant interruptions in some cases. To cut down on interruptions, ask everyone to agree on their most productive time at work — perhaps between 10:00 a.m. and noon. Then, suggest that folks hold back from Slacking each other during that time period.

Similarly, suggest that employees use email for less important communications. By shifting some of their conversations from a Slack-​like tool to email, you’re removing the urgency from a conversation.

In addition to reducing the disruptive nature of communications, encourage your team members to actively focus on productivity. Show them how you prioritize work – perhaps by writing your top two or three tasks on your white board each day. If employees are having trouble with productivity, ask your managers to help them break large tasks into smaller ones.

Finally, show your commitment to productivity through a reward system. Salonek describes one company that asks employees to nominate each other for putting it all out there and completing challenging tasks. In this way you can build culture that builds loyalty and spirit, and keeps the focus on the bottom line.