Do you feel like some of the time you spend at work is being wasted? You’re not alone! As it turns out, many employees could probably get their jobs done in shorter workdays, but inefficient processes, interruptions, meetings and other daily distractions hamper the ability to focus and to complete the work that needs to get done.
According to a global survey of nearly 3,000 employees across eight countries conducted by The Workforce Institute at Kronos Inc., nearly half (45 percent) of full-time workers say it would take less than five hours each day to do their job if they worked uninterrupted, while three out of four employees (72 percent) would work four days or less per week if pay remained constant. Additionally, 71 percent of employees say work interferes with their personal life, cutting into time for family, exercise and professional development.
Administrative Work Impacts Efficiency
The report found that “nearly nine in 10 employees (86 percent) say they lose time each day on work-specific tasks unrelated to their core job, with 41 percent of full-time employees wasting more than an hour a day on these extraneous activities. Additionally, 40 percent of employees say they lose an hour-plus each day on administrative tasks that do not drive value for their organization.”
What do people waste the most time on at work each day? Fixing a problem not caused by me (22 percent) and administrative work (17 percent) were the top two answers given by full-time employees. Meetings (12 percent), e-mail (11 percent) and customer issues (11 percent) rounded out the top five time-wasters.
According to Joyce Maroney, executive director of The Workforce Institute at Kronos, “The biggest takeaway of this research isn’t that we should move to a shorter workweek or that we need a time machine to get all our work done. It’s clear that employees want to work and do well by their employers, and many roles require people to be present or on call during specific hours to get the job done—such as teachers, nurses, retail associates, plant workers, delivery drivers and nearly all customer-facing roles. Organizations must help their people eliminate distractions, inefficiencies and administrative work to enable them to work at full capacity. This will create more time to innovate, collaborate, develop skills and relationships, and serve customers while opening the door to creative scheduling options, including the coveted four-day workweek.”
If you had a four-day workweek, what would you do with the time? What prevents you from being productive at work, and how can better time management help create extra time in the day and during the week for better work-life fit?
Please join @shrmnextchat at 3 p.m. ET on April 24 for #Nextchat with special guest Joyce Maroney (@WF_Institute), executive director of The Workforce Institute at Kronos. We’ll chat about the distractions that lengthen and complicate our workdays as well as time management tips and productivity hacks to help get some of that time back.
Q1. What would you do if you could get more hours back in your workday, and how would you spend that time at work (or outside of work)?
Q2. What does “work-life fit” mean to you, and would a four-day workweek help to achieve it? What else is important to achieving work-life fit?
Q3. What are the major distractions in your workplace that keep you from being fully productive?
Q4. What are your best productivity hacks for making work more efficient and effective? What technology or applications help you keep track of deadlines, to-dos and personal checklists?
Q5. What are your best time management tips, and what is most helpful when you feel you are being pulled in multiple directions?
Q6. What are your tips for meetings—either for deciding whether to call one or for keeping them efficient, useful and on track?
Q7. What strategies do you use to define—and respect—boundaries between your work life and personal life?
Q8. How can #HR pros help encourage healthy and productive time management practices to help prevent burnout?