Human Capital Management Blog

Strategies for HCM Professionals

3 time-wasters you can do without

Clock, timeTime management is key to your employees’ productivity. 

The little things people do that waste a minute or two at a time add up throughout the days, weeks and months. This can substantially reduce the amount of work that your people are able to get done over long stretches. In fact, a New York Times report illustrated just how much even the smallest and most innocent of actions can affect productivity. There are a number of obstacles from multitasking to emails that can set an employee back and cut into productivity. 

For example, one study found it took workers on average 15 minutes to return to serious mental tasks after answering text messages and emails. This means that every time one of your employees answers a message, you can expect the individual to take about 15 minutes to get back to work. With all of the communications staff may receive through the workday, those chunks of time can add up quickly. Think about it – an hour or more per employee gone each day because it’s tough to get back to work after answering an email. That can build up to a substantial amount of missed work.

However, productivity drains don’t have to be a part of life. Between work policies and human capital management professionals’ efforts to engage employees, companies can ensure that staff remains as productive as possible. To do this, they may have to eliminate a few things though. Entrepreneur suggested several ideas:

Delete the long meetings
First workers have to give up the tasks they’re in the middle of, then they have to go to the meeting and sit there growing more tired and bored and finally they have to leave that room and reengage with their projects. That’s what a meeting usually consists of. Three phases of decreasing productivity. It’s like getting back to a task after answering an email, but worse. Keep meetings quick, like under 10 minutes fast. This will give employees time to be productive, and won’t remove them from their work for so long that reengaging seems an insurmountable task. 

Ditch e-mail for a day
Remember when e-mail was a game-changer? As mentioned above, it can take 15 minutes or so to readjust to an important project following an email or text message. And what about the time spent waiting for a email response so you know the next steps in you project? Try encouraging employees to consider other options – and make it fun. Suggest having each Friday be “Phone Call Friday”, and ask employees to pick up the phone instead of sending an email! They’ll get their questions answered much quicker. 

Getting done a few things at once seems like a great idea and a time management strategy, but in reality this can be a setback. Instead, employees end up doing subpar work, slowly, on multiple projects, rather than great work quickly on one. This is something you’ll want to avoid. Instead, encourage employees to set their minds to one task at a time and to get each one done right. 

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