So kindly ask yourself, what are you really doing or not doing, that is allowing or encouraging them to waste time?
Here are some suggestions:
1. Hire carefully and hire the right people.
Why? Because if you do not know the right candidate that you need to hire in terms of skills, abilities and cultural fit, you will get new employees who soon will be frustrated by lack of skills or undervalued if overqualified or bored if their workday is not planned properly and they have nothing to do; all these behaviours lead to time-wasting.
By the way, whenever a new employee is 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.
We assume that you do already have clear company goals and directives in place.
2. Set clear HR/Workplace policies and communicate them to all.
A constantly updated employee handbook should be readily available at all times with your workplace policies. Address issues like speaker-phones, private usage of company property, etc. Introduce fair disciplinary actions for all possible violations.
Note, any red-tape set of bureaucratic policies is by definition a time waster. That includes tedious expense reports of vacation applications, etc.
3. Run meetings properly.
A badly run meeting, is both demotivational and boring and by default a clear waste of time for all.
Plan your meetings properly, have a clear agenda communicated in advance to all participants, and end your meetings at a set time – don’t let them drag unnecessarily because you have no time tracking/management skills.
And…Employees should have the right to decline meeting-invitations.
4. Proper training.
If you assign tasks to an employee that s/he cannot perform, s/he will get eventually frustrated and start procrastinating. So, train them, please.
On the other hand, don’t force your employees to attend irrelevant or worthless courses.
In 2017, it is okay for your employees to use YouTube or a MOOC to learn new skills.
5. IT, Social Media & Website Blocking.
Should you have one? Do your employees need to access gambling sites during work hours? Online shopping ones? Should Facebook be blocked? Is your corporate spam-filter in order or do employees receive 20-60 spam emails per day? Are virus ‘dancing’ in your network platform?
Develop a Social Media usage policy during work hours, keeping in mind that millennials and younger workers, a policy to remove personal devices or prohibit all access and texting during working hours is likely to be resented or simply ignored.
You might need a policy on using work time for personal e-mails, private calls and texts. As the line between work and personal-life continues to blur, this ‘trend’ is on the rise.
6. Too much email.
Don’t fill up your employees’ email inboxes with unimportant mail. Also, don’t expect them to drop whatever they are doing to respond to your email immediately. If really urgent, just walk and talk to them or call them.
Avoid email chains as to what to order for lunch or about the new fan usage policy.
7. Manage your team properly + KPIs.
As a manager – at any level, it is your responsibility to plan your employee’s day. Let me give you an example: at the software division of Boeing – since the late 90’s – a software engineer has detailed instructions for every 2hr work period; yes – that level of granularity (my husband has witnessed it).
Word of caution: focus on deliverables and do not micromanage the time of your employees.
Each task should have solid instructions and ideally relevant and constantly monitored KPIs.
Have clear KPIs for both your Team and all Team – Members and all processes that are covered by the functional area(s) of your team(s).
Finally, be visible as a manager- do not manage by assigning tasks via email. You have to be in the office/store floor!
8. Conditions of the work environment.
A work environment that is dirty, or messy or too hot or too noisy or poorly lit or even not comfortable to sit in, is a major productivity killer. All these will drive your employees – despite all possible good will, to immense amounts of lack of concentration and time-waste.
9. Recognition and Rewards Management.
Give rewards – show your employees that they are valued!
Motivate them to be less wasteful with their work time by giving them recognition and extra incentives. A simple set of movie – tickets for someone’s family might boost their morale and keep them going for a long time.
Part of recognition is also listening to your employees; this usually results in less wasted effort, reduced costs, and even zero employee turnover.
10. Time Off: Daily short breaks & vacations.
Implement several short-breaks during the work-day. Most ergonomic advice suggest a 5- minute break every hour because the majority of people can only focus for one hour or less at a time.
Also, when applicable, force employees to take their vacation days (not a good idea to transfer them to next year etc.) to avoid work – burnout. If applicable too, you might want to consider offering an employee flextime, even temporarily.
I trust that by now, you are aware that your employees/team – members might be wasting a lot of time at the workplace.
Keep in mind, that lack of personal accountability ‘for the standard of the employee’s work- contribution’ might be another common reason for reduced workplace productivity.
And now, you have some information on how to address it. If your employees always have clear understanding of how their work adds value to your organisation, if they like their work and their work environment, if they are given clear responsibilities and are held accountable, if they receive regular feedback and communication on future business strategy, if they feel really valued, then they will be having pride in their job and self-select not to time-waste.
Thank you and Good Luck.
Irene welcomes your feedback/ comments/remarks/ suggestions via your email message to Press@HIREgh.com
© 2017 Irene Gloria Addison and © 2017 Human Intelligence Recruitment
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