When Employees Waste Time, and What to Do About It

Veriato Blog Post

By Veriato - September 04, 2019

When Employees Waste Time, and What to Do About It

The numbers are shocking. According to the 2019 The State of Work Report, employees spend just 40% of their workday on primary tasks. A Gallup poll showed that disengaged employees cost companies in the United States between $450 and $550 billion per year, and highly engaged teams are 21% more profitable than others. So how can an organization find out what employees are doing when they are on the clock so they can take steps to increase engagement and boost productivity?

A Case in Point

Before managers can address the engagement problem, they have to be able to identify – and quantify – what is really going on in the workplace. Organizations are now turning to employee management systems to monitor how workers spend their time. The IT manager of an insurance services company knew that he had a productivity problem and purchased Veriato Cerebral, an employee monitoring solution, to find out where the problem was. While results indicated that there were no data breaches or theft, there was plenty of "personal mischief" taking place regularly.

The manager found the results to be nothing short of amazing. In precise detail, the monitoring software revealed that employees were spending a great deal of time reading their personal emails and surfing the web. They logged into chat room sessions and took part in Instant Messaging conversations. They downloaded music, and some streamed video that they stored on company servers. Appallingly, non-work related items included explicit content. Much of the material was found on work computers where it ate up backup space and cut into the employee's time on task.

Fostering Engagement

As the IT manager found out, learning about the scope and details of the problem through employee monitoring was the crucial first step in a process toward improved productivity. Armed with specific information, leaders can take steps to build a culture of achievement. To foster engagement, managers can encourage workers to buy into the overall goals of the company by demonstrating how specific tasks fit into the big picture. Clearly defined roles delineate responsibilities to avoid conflict and prevent duplication of effort. Managers can grant employees the authority they need to complete their tasks to enhance their level of enthusiasm. When they pay attention to employee career goals, they can respond by offering professional development and career advancement opportunities. Policies that support work/life balance and public recognition for a job well done can also foster engagement and prevent employees from wasting time on the job.

Here are some of the more exciting ideas organizations have implemented to keep workers engaged and stop them from wasting time:

Set Aside Time for Innovation

In a changing world, going beyond a daily to-do list to come up with sweeping new ideas can promote employee engagement and focus their attention on innovation, rather than non-work related activities. According to Forbes, innovation is just as much about modifying the business model and adapting with better products and services as it is coming up with entirely new ideas. Innovation can provide companies with a competitive edge by helping to develop opportunities and expand the business. Change does not have to come from an individual working alone. The best creative ideas often come from groups collaborating as a team.

Hold Shorter Meetings

When it comes to meetings, less is more. Many employers and employees consider long meetings a waste of time. To counteract this tendency, organizations have been coming up with exciting ways to keep them short and to the point. Some of the more original ways to cut down on meeting time are:

  • Holding 10 minute, stand up meetings.
  • Shooting hoops to generate creative ideas.
  • Holding up ping-pong paddles with No Rehash stated boldly to prevent discussing a topic already addressed.
  • Asking late-comers to perform a song.
  • Requiring people who talk over the time limit to do push-ups.

Many companies simply set a timer, and when it buzzes the meeting is over.

Reduce the Risk of Burnout

Employee burnout is a real risk that can rob people of their focus and create a culture where people are tempted to waste time at work. Long hours and repetitive tasks contribute to burnout. Managers can implement policies that give workers the time they need to relax and come back to the job refreshed and energetic.

Think of your employees as individuals with a life outside the office. Consider how you might help reduce their stress levels with programs like flextime, working remotely part-time, or monetary rewards for a job well done. Encouraging employees to take all of their vacation days can go a long way in preventing burnout and promoting engagement when they come back to work.

Identifying Time Wasters to Keep your Team On-Task

Veriato is a comprehensive employee productivity monitoring solution that can help you monitor employee activity and promote productivity in the workplace. Our system can track and record your employee's online activity to ensure compliance with company policies. We provide video playback of all onscreen activity and alert on anomalous behavior when necessary. Daily, weekly, and monthly reports inform you of the productivity of each worker. Cerebral can monitor remote worker productivity as well as in-office worker productivity.

With Veriato, you'll be notified of any suspicious activity and see who is working hard, and who isn't. Knowing if a productivity problem exists will allow you to increase your management effectiveness and ultimately, the productivity of your employees.

To find out more about Veriato employee monitoring solutions and how it can help you increase productivity, visit Veriato.com, or call 1-888-598-2788.

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