We’ve investigated all manners of productivity-boosting topics on OT over the years. As part of that, we regularly explore the many different ways in which business centre operators can help clients improve output by enhancing the workplace.
This, though, has left us a little stumped.
In a survey of 550 office workers by ECigaretteDirect.co.uk, the electronic cigarette manufacturer, more than a few sneaky procrastination habits have been uncovered.
The top ways in which British office workers like to waste time at work include tidying desks, organising inboxes and long bathroom breaks.
Here are the big finds:
- 83% confessed to have tidied paperwork on their desk in order to waste time
- 79% re-organising their email inbox to make the minutes go by
- 76% said that they had spent a longer time than necessary in the toilet
- 57% said that they had offered to make a large round of drinks so they could spend some time in the kitchen rather than at their desk
- 66% said that they had deliberately started conversations about non-work related matters to pass the time
- 4% even confessed to pretending to smoke just to get away from their desks
Yet again this raises the question of distractions in shared and open-plan offices. In a collaborative workspace, it’s all too easy to get drawn into conversation or find yourself losing concentration due to background noise.
On the flip side, however, that same cheerful hubbub (and even the time-sapping task of making a round of drinks) contributes to team-bonding and a supportive community. Given the choice between that and working in isolation, we already know that many workers, entrepreneurs and freelancers are opting for the former.
But back to the challenge of how to cut back on all that time-wasting. On a serious note, is there anything business centre operators can do?
Maybe, the trick is to do nothing at all. There are many ways to help improve happiness and productivity at work by enhancing the workplace – ranging from your style of furniture and break-out spaces to decor, layout, even your choice of workplace scent.
But disappearing for a few minutes to make drinks? Or spending time shuffling papers on the desk? Really, who isn’t guilty of that? It’s human nature and more often than not, a welcome break during a hectic day. Surely even the likes of Richard Branson and Bill Gates can admit to a few wasted minutes here or there. And it hasn’t done their businesses any harm.
If it gets out of hand, then it becomes a management issue that needs to be addressed. As for clock-watching at 4pm on a Friday afternoon, maybe a round of coffees is just what the doctor ordered.
Are you guilty of any of these time-wasting tactics? Are there any other sneaky tricks not listed here? Let us know.