The Anatomy of a Time Waster
As a business owner, you understand the importance of efficiency.
Time is valuable and you know just how important it is to make every minute count. When it comes to your staff, you expect the same level of dedication.
Unfortunately, though, your workers just don’t have the same commitment to your company that you do. In fact, it’s estimated that just 60 percent or less of work time is actually spent productively.
An unmotivated and unfocused workforce can eat into your profits considerably. To combat this, you’ll want a strategy that will help you to assemble a team that’s driven, and productive. This means hiring the right people in the first place, and looking for ways to motivate your existing workforce. It also means looking out for hidden issues that may be hindering your team’s productivity.
If you’d like to address the issue of wasted time in your business, knowing how to spot a time waster can help. Here’s a quick look at some tell-tale signs that someone, or something, may be costing your company valuable resources –and what you can do about it.
Procrastination is one of the key characteristics of a time waster. Someone who is constantly putting things off, or waiting until the last minute to get things done is someone who fails to see the importance of the task at hand –or, who may feel that they have better things to do. Instead of allowing workers to delay things until the last minute, encourage punctuality and timeliness throughout all aspects of their job. Workers should arrive at work on time, organize their day in a calendar or planner, and schedule tasks realistically, leaving enough time to get things done.
Prone to Interrupting
Time wasters tend to be the ‘busy bees’ in the office, always going around and interrupting progress and distracting others from what they are doing. A driven workforce is one where everyone happily works together toward the same goals, not one where workers flit from coworker to coworker, constantly disrupting the workflow. Keep an eye out for those who seem to be “overly busy,” and constantly bothering other employees with mundane questions or chit chat. This is often a sign of an employee who may be confused on what their exact role in the company is, or someone who fails to see how they fit into the bigger picture.
While your employees should take the occasional break, the majority of their time, their focus should be on their work. Look out for workers who are easily distracted by videos online, things on their phone, or other non-work activities. If this is a common issue with your workers, consider holding them accountable for completing a specific amount of work by the day’s end. Or, motivate them with a monthly bonus if they meet predetermined goals.
Constantly Asks Questions
Sure, a new employee might need a little extra help learning the ropes, but once they’ve been trained, they should be ready to do their job, without the need for constant clarification. While the occasional question is fine –it shows that person cares about doing a good job, if you have a worker who is constantly asking you or other employees unnecessary questions about tasks that they have already been trained in, take them aside and try to get to the bottom of the issue. It may be that they missed out on a key part of the training, or that they lack the confidence that they need to do their job. If training is an issue, you can always reorient them. If confidence is the issue, you’ll want to tell them that you’re confident that they are capable of making the right decisions, and provide encouragement, giving them more responsibility as their self-assurance improves.
Finally, it’s also important to keep in mind that some of the biggest time wasters –are not people, but are in fact systems or work processes. It’s easy enough to spot a worker who’s constantly on social media, but other, more subtle time wasters tend to go unnoticed because they’re often disguised as necessary business activities.
Unnecessary meetings, for instance, can be a significant time waster. All too often, people are called to meetings that don’t apply to them. Additionally, inefficient processes and paperwork overload have also been shown to be major timewasters.
If you are looking to run your company as efficiently as possible, and get your team on board to do their best, it’s important to address wasted time among your workforce, as well as the more subtle, and often-overlooked time wasters that could be present in your business processes as well.