We all know that staying 100% focused at work is virtually impossible. You might have the most motivated employees, and they’ll still need to disconnect from time to time. 

But what happens if disconnection becomes the norm in your company? If your productivity levels are plunging, you might want to check what your employees are doing with their time.

Your team may be slacking for various reasons. You may be a tolerant boss or manager, and you’ve let their relaxed behavior get…well, too relaxed. Or maybe your workers are stressed out and constantly working – just working on the wrong things. 

Address these 7 most common time wasters in the workplace and see your team’s productivity improve dramatically:

Excessive Time Off

Breaks are a human need, but when they don’t get monitored in the workplace, some employees can easily take advantage of the company’s lack of break policies. 

While bathroom breaks are okay, watercooler breaks that spark group gossip are not. Neither are lunch breaks that extend way over the allotted time. But, you know, what doesn’t get measured, doesn’t get managed.

While hanging a “No congregating at the water cooler” sign may sound like a good idea, you could choose an easier route and simply start tracking breaks.

A tool like our Time Tracker is great for monitoring breaks and also has an option for automatic breaks for those companies that enforce 15-minute coffee/tea breaks every few hours.

Workplace Interruptions

Interruptions come in many shapes and sizes. Phone or computer notifications, chatty coworkers, eventful open space offices, impromptu meetings – all these are the enemy of continuous focus in the workplace. 

Losing your train of thought is annoying enough – imagine experiencing this in a professional setting, over and over again.

To fix this, you could offer your employees access to a quiet conference room or office for bursts of productivity. Much like the library, this will become the perfect place for employees who are easily overwhelmed by noise and office commotion.

Endless Email Clutter

Email is one of those things that we check the first thing we wake up. We’re expected to reply within a few hours, and, if our jobs depend on it, even faster. But email is a huge time-waster in the workplace and isn’t always the best means for communication.

Improve your email communication by setting clear rules and processes in place. Also, when possible, allow your employees to stay “unreachable” when they’re working on important tasks.

Annoying Meetings

A whopping 15% of a company’s time is spent on meetings. Frequent meetings are not only a waste of a company’s time and resources – they’re also annoying. Why? Because they conjure up the entire team instead of sticking to the essential people. 

Meetings take too long and are often late to start. Participants can be unprepared, unfocused, and even daydreamers (you know who you are). Don’t even get me started on back-to-back meetings – avoid them at all costs if you don’t want to permanently fry your brain.

Unclear Responsibilities

Another important time sucker in the workplace is confusion. Your employees might be well-intentioned and willing to work, but their enthusiasm will instantly fade if they don’t have a competent manager or leader.

Easy fix – learn to prioritize. Define the most important tasks at the beginning of each workday, and delegate like a pro. Each worker should be assigned a project and task to work on and a timeframe to do it.

You can easily do this in the Time Tracker for Salesforce app and manage your team seamlessly.

Online Distractions

Whether it’s cat videos, Insta stories, full-blown hobbies like video games, or using company time to book your vacation, the internet offers an endless world of online distractions.

These distractions, along with excessive phone use, are perhaps the most universal time wasters, both at home and in the office.

While you can’t really police your team into being productive, you can recognize these distractions for what they are – a form of procrastination. You can fix this by engaging your employees and leveraging their interests and skills, so that they feel useful instead of demotivated. 

Too Many Tools

Technology is supposed to make us more productive, but with all the apps we have to choose from, the opposite is actually true.

Should you hop on Zoom, Skype, Whatsapp, or Google meets for a conference call? What about checking your multiple inboxes, Trello boards, Slack messages, and Google Docs? I can already sense your levels of overwhelming rising. 

SaaS services may be evolving, but many departments have different tools for managing their projects, which makes inter-department communication confusing and difficult. 

Don’t underestimate the importance of having centralized tools for your business.

Productivity may sometimes seem elusive in the workplace, but that’s because you can’t be productive in a perpetually distracting environment. Embrace time tracking, delegate clear tasks, create focus “bubbles,” reduce meetings, and you’ll see more efficient, happier employees.