How Can Small Businesses Keep Employees From Wasting Time?

The fact that we are all humans means it’s impossible for us to totally maximize our time and maintain 100 percent output. Our cognitive processing is flawed, we’re prone to distractions, and we simply don’t have the energy to stay focused on something for an entire workday. But that doesn’t mean you should lower your expectations for your employees. With the right approach, they can be trained to spend less effort wasting time and more energy maximizing it.

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Stop Time Clock Abuse in Its Tracks

Research shows that 89 percent of employees admit to wasting time at work, with an astonishing 26 percent of these individuals wasting more than 2 hours per day. Formally, this would be called time clock abuse – yet many businesses don’t do anything to actively combat the purposeful or unintentional misuse of company time.

There are a variety of time tracking solutions on the market that claim to help with time clock abuse, but they’re often built on false notions and fail to create lasting change. If you want to see results, you have to be proactive.

It’s not just about recording employee hours. It’s about understanding employee availability. It’s about hitting project deadlines — while staying on budget,” explains ClickTime, a leader in time tracking solutions. “It’s knowing you’ll never have to update another timesheet in Excel. It’s about making things easy. It’s giving your team the tools they need to do their jobs well. And the insights to work more effectively than ever before.

In other words, you need to understand what’s happening beneath the surface, so you can proactively address your biggest issues. After digging around and looking at the insights, don’t be surprised if you find the following time-wasters are in play.

1. Email

According to research out of Carleton University, employees spend one-third of their time at the office reading and answering emails. Sounds important right? Well, not so much. Approximately 30 percent of that time is spent with emails that are neither urgent nor important.

Everyone wastes time on email. Not only is it ubiquitous – you can access it at your desk, in your pocket, or from home – but it’s cumbersome and inefficient. Between spam emails, long message threads, and being included in emails that have nothing to do with you, it’s no wonder you and your employees waste so much time here.

One solution would be to switch to a cleaner solution – such as Slack. Another option is to encourage employees to log out of their email and only check it at pre-determined intervals throughout the day. This cuts back on the distraction of notifications and keeps employees focused on the tasks they’re performing.

2. Social Media

Social media is a huge distraction in the workplace, but you don’t want to put up a restrictive website blocker that makes employees feel like they’re in high school. The better solution is to use a tool that gives each employee a certain amount of time to spend on “blocked” sites per day.

3. Unnecessary Meetings

If you’re calling lots of meetings, you are one of the biggest reasons employees end up wasting time at work. Research shows that the typical meeting is twice as long as it needs to be and causes 91 percent of attendees to daydream instead of focusing on the topic at hand.

What’s the solution? Stop calling so many meetings and stop inviting so many people. Jeff Bezos has what he calls the Two Pizza Rule. If two pizzas can’t feed the entire group, it means you have too many people. It’s also smart to keep meetings to 15 minutes or less and avoid small talk on the front end.

Push Your Employees To Use Time Wisely

At the end of the day, your employees have some free will and can, to a degree, determine how they spend their time at work. They can steal a few minutes here and there – before clocking out or during a meeting – or they can feel engaged and hungry to be productive. It’s up to you to push them towards being engaged without making them feel as if you’re micro-managing their every move. If you can do this, good things will happen to your business.

If you are interested in even more business-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels then we have a lot to choose from.

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