Client Resource Center

Knock It Off!

Want to really boost employees' productivity (and happiness)? Teach them to STOP doing these six things:

One: Getting Stuck in Social Media Quicksand

Social media is time-wasting quicksand. We've all been there. You get an alert that a friend commented on a photo of your cat. You hop on to see the comment and notice that your brother posted a photo of his lizard wearing a top hat. You must comment on that, of course.

Then, you see an update that your cousin Bill got a promotion, so you leave him a comment, and while you are there, you see that his wife has posted a political message that you find repulsive. So you comment on that. Next thing you know, you've lost an hour of your day.

Social media is fun, but it takes valuable time away from productive activities and can put you in a negative frame of mind.

Tip: If you want your team to stay focused throughout the day, encourage them to remove alerts from their smartphones and maybe even consider blocking social media sites from the company network.

Two: The Multitasking Trap

These days, it seems you cannot get through the day without multitasking. However, when someone is juggling three or more tasks at the same time, none of those tasks receive the attention they deserve.

Tip: Encourage your team members to focus on one project at a time. Discourage them from writing emails or typing reports while they are supposed to be listening in on conference calls, and ban cell phones from group meetings to keep everyone focused on the discussion.

Tip: A great tactic for juggling multiple tasks is "time blocking." Encourage employees to focus one solid hour on one project, get up and stretch their legs, and then set that project aside and move on to another. This helps them approach each task with fresh eyes and a focused mind.

Three: Saying Yes To Every Request

Saying no is hard -- especially when it's your boss making a request. But it is important to empower your team to know their limitations. When their plate is full, they should feel comfortable speaking up and saying, "I cannot tackle this new project right now, given my current workload." Constantly saying yes will lead to lowered morale and eventual burnout.

Tip: During regular one-on-one meetings, go through each person's task list. Ask them how they are managing, and help them prioritize. If you spot someone taking on too much, step in and help them. This will encourage your team members to speak up and be honest with you about how much they can handle.

Four: Doing Everything Yourself

Delegation is a lifesaver when it comes to time management and productivity; it is, however, a process that's typically reserved for managers and supervisors.

Tip: While you cannot allow your employees to delegate without your approval, you can encourage them to come to you when they are getting overwhelmed. Together you can choose tasks to reassign to another team member or another department.

Five: Incessantly Checking Email

Email is a major daily distraction. The average person spends nearly 30 percent of their day on email. In a 50-hour workweek, that translates to 15 hours spent on email alone. Imagine if you could give your employees back those 15 hours to focus on more productive tasks.

Tip: Encourage your team to unsubscribe from any email list that does not directly pertain to their job. Have them make use of star, flag and label features on the company's email platform to manage messages that must be responded to, and those that are just for informational purposes only.

Tip: You can also teach them to time block email. Check email in the morning, reply to important messages and then shut down the program until right before lunch. They can check it again upon their return, and then again before the end of the day. If a true emergency pops up, the sender will come looking for what they need.

Six: Making Yourself Available During Off Hours

If you notice a flurry of email activity during off-hours, it's time to do some self-reflection. Your employees need time to relax and recharge their batteries, and if they are working nights and weekends, they are not getting the work-life balance they deserve. Could everyone be using their time in the office more wisely? Could you curb your own late-night email requests?

Tip: Sit down with your team and ask them how many off-hours they are devoting to work, and then come up with a plan to allow them to achieve better balance.

We are only allotted a certain number of hours each day. This year, help your employees use their time wisely to improve productivity and boost team morale.

And if you're looking for other ways to boost productivity, give your staffing partner a call. Whether you need to cover unplanned absences, staff up for a big project, or grow your internal team, your staffing partner provides a range of staffing and placement services to help you get more done.