Study: Workplace Inefficiency Often Caused by Technology, Meetings

18 Jun

Personal cellphone use can make workers unproductive.

HR professionals need to understand and address what is causing workers to not be productive as part of their employee management strategies. CareerBuilder recently looked into this issue, and found non-work-related activities are often the culprits behind why workers are inefficient. CareerBuilder surveyed 2,138 hiring managers and HR professionals, as well as 3,022 full-time employees.

The survey uncovered that 1 in 4 employees spend at least an hour on personal communication. For example, half of workers stop working to talk on the phone or text. In addition, 21 percent take an hour to look up non-work-related content online during the workday, with 38 percent choosing to go on social media rather than work. While some employers choose to block specific sites (36 percent), others have rules in place asking workers not to make personal calls in the office (25 percent). 

However, technology isn't the only reason workers can be unproductive – gossip, noisy colleagues and unnecessary meetings are efficiency suckers as well. Forty-two percent of workers noted gossiping makes them unproductive, and 24 percent pointed to disruptive co-workers. However, meetings were also a significant disruption, with 23 percent saying meetings kill their productivity.

It's no coincidence that meetings came up on CareerBuilder's list, as other studies into the workplace have unearthed similar findings. According to Entrepreneur magazine, meetings are considered to be the biggest waste of time for most workers, and the average employee spends 5.6 hours of their week just in conference calls or in-person meetings. Employers should address how much time certain distractions take up during the workday, and develop solutions to prevent many of these issues from occurring, according to Rosemary Haefner, vice president of HR at CareerBuilder.

"It's important to be organized and designate times to work on different deliverables," Haefner said. "Minimize interruptions and save personal communications for your lunch hour or break. It can help put more time and momentum back into your workday."

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