The easiest thing any manager can do is blame their employees for wasting time at work through poor time management that results in quality slips and missed deadlines. This translates into poor customer service, strained internal relationships and ultimately, loss of business.
Where Does the Time Go?
- 64% (in 2012) to 70% (in 2013) of survey respondents admitted wasting time at work on a daily basis. Time wasted ranged from 30 minutes to several hours each day.
- Top time-wasting activities were: 43% talking with co-workers, 34% online activities and 4% each on texting and personal calls.
- The most significant reasons given by workers for why they waste time were: 35% were not challenged enough, 32% felt that there was no incentive to work harder, 30% got no satisfaction from what they do, and 23% were just downright bored.
Sometimes Why Employees Waste Time Is Obvious
- Inefficient co-workers: 17%
- Other co-workers: 17%
- Office politics: 13%
- Busy work: 13%
- Other: 11%
- And finally, My Boss: 8%
Blaming your employees may be the easiest way to explain the time wasting. But, you need to ask yourself, what are you doing (or not doing) that is allowing or encouraging them to waste time? The answers and solutions may exist right under your nose. Here are 5 possibilities.
Minimizing Time Wasting Starts with Leadership
If the leader is not effective, the team will not perform well on a consistent basis. If the leader doesn’t set expectations for the team to achieve, then the team will set their own and do what they want – including wasting as much time as they can.
Most people will only do what they are asked to do.
In the Beginning: Heading Off Time Wasting at Work
The solution to the wasting time challenge actually starts at the time of. Leaders must have a clear and specific vision, along with a definitive description of the jobs needed and the type of people to fill those jobs to have a productive team.
Team Members Need Clear Expectations
Once employees are hired, make sure that each of your team members knows specifically what they are supposed to do and how and when they are supposed to do it. Most importantly, each team member must understand why they do what they do. They need to know how what they do fits into the vision you are creating.
Set, Communicate, and Measure Performance Expectations
The leader needs to recognize how to set and communicate realistic performance expectations for what needs to be done. Once set and communicated, the leader must follow through and hold the team accountable for meeting those expectations. Expectations allow you to measure results. If you can’t measure the results, then you cannot manage the process to achieve the desired results. In the absence of expectations or any effort to hold people accountable for meeting them, the team will set their own expectations and meet only the ones that they set for themselves. If employees know that their performance is being measured objectively, consistently and in a constructive way, they are less likely to wander off and waste time.
It’s Never about Time Management
Like I mentioned at the very beginning, the solution to combat employees wasting time at work starts with you, the leader, and both the expectations and accountabilities you establish. Let’s be clear, the solution has nothing to do with time management because you can’t manage time – it just keeps moving on. What you can manage is you, and how you use the available time you have at work