“The trouble is, you think you have time”…powerful and poignant words, my favorite of all the fake Buddha quotes – deep stuff the enlightened one never said. Of course what he would have meant by this is that the one unifying constant in all of our lives is time slipping away…and that’s doubly true on the job. Efficiency is an industry because organization is hard; lack of it has given lots of us the opportunity to update our resumes.
There are hysterical ways to burn the corporate clock when you want to…duct taping the height adjuster on a coworkers chair or mismatching their shortcut icons…both classics and hilarious but what’s funny about losing ten minutes looking for an email?
Throw in a little managerial pressure and the typical workday stress and you’re cooking up the kind of frenetic exasperation that begins with mumbled nonsensical expletives and soon escalates to a Griswold karate chopping reindeer outburst that honestly is a level of crazy you don’t want to parade at the office.
No Laughing Matter
Today’s workplace is about technology and technology is both our greatest tormentor and savior. If you’re in sales, project management or any business with customers there are moments when it’s game-on. Your reputation and earning potential ride on how efficiently you handle your business.
Practical jokes aside, wasting time at work is no laughing matter. Data from Salary.com reveals that not only do people waste time, the problem is getting worse. In 2013, 69% admitted to goofing off. By 2014, that number was up to 89%…and the time they wasted got longer. In fact, 4% of workers said they waste half the day or more.
How is Employee Time Wasted?
Much of it is spent chatting and texting – on the phone, with co-workers or on social media. That eats up a lot of time. Then there’s surfing the web, snack or smoke breaks, distraction from other people being noisy (also known as eavesdropping), meetings, and email.
Workers waste time when they don’t feel valued at their jobs, or their jobs are boring. Start by finding positive ways to motivate your staff. Get creative and have some fun with it.
Your employees want to be empowered. They want to contribute ideas, make decisions, and have a voice in company direction. They will appreciate flexible scheduling and the opportunity to work from home when they have a sick child.
We’re all global now, so does it matter that an employee does his best work in the evening or early morning when it’s quiet, and likes to take afternoons off or come in to the office at noon? Allowing them to choose their own workday means you’ll get peak performance and they won’t be distracted by a doctor’s appointment or school play they’re afraid they’ll miss.
Working out flextime means you have to ensure you have enough people in the office at all times, but don’t worry. Many people are perfectly ok with 9-5 most of the time. You’ll be able to work something out. Even offering special occasion trade-offs is valuable.
Giving Them the Proper Tools
The first and second points on Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People are “be proactive” and “begin with the end in mind.” There is software tailor-made to help you do just that.
Customer relationship management software, or CRM, is designed for the sole purpose of making you better at what you do, so it definitely increases productivity. A good CRM not only manages your contacts and their information but ties any notes associated with a specific client to them. It will boast an integrated calendar and to-do list to keep you organized, and project management software with a financial tool that you can use to manage virtually anything you’re working on.
All that efficiency will pad your annual review with praise and put lots of minutes back on your clock. Who knows, you may even save enough time to laminate that official looking legend of voice commands for the office microwave or just wait around the break room for someone to try your complimentary chocolate covered tuna balls.