Where Productivity Goes to Die: Seven major Productivity Problems to Avoid
"I just don't feel productive." How many times have you uttered these words? How many times
have you thought about a variation of this phrase? If you are a working professional, the
chances are high that this is a common thought.
We have all been there. Endless meetings, unforeseen projects, last-minute edits, an unexpected
staff departure, or regular office distractions can derail our quest for ultimate productivity.
While you cannot predict the future, or avoid every potential productivity problem, there are
some common issues you can prevent. So, if you need to repair your productivity in 2020, here
are some everyday situations to watch out for and ways to prevent them.
The Endless Email Check
Did you know you will spend
of your week checking emails? I bet you also didn't realize that it will take you
almost 25 minutes
to refocus after a distraction (namely an email notification). Email is a blessing and a curse
for business professionals. You can quickly send over a message to a colleague. However, what
happens when everyone has the same idea and decides to do the same to you?
It likely isn't going to go over well. No matter how focused you are, you are going to feel as if
you have to check that notification. This reason is why we suggest scheduling your email check-ins.
Don't let your productivity die in your inbox. Turn off notifications, and strategically plan your
email check-ins throughout the day.
The Meeting Dilemma
Meetings are an excellent way to ensure that everyone is on the same page. However, what happens
when the higher-ups get a little meeting-crazy? According to respondents to a study by Atlassian,
half of those involved felt meetings were "time wasted." Here are some ways you can prevent
meetings from becoming a productivity killer:
Ensure that everyone in the meeting needs to be there.
Let those who have urgent deadlines follow-up with someone later.
Record the meeting (with everyone's permission), so those who missed it can get caught up to speed.
Send a meeting agenda ahead of time.
Ensure that everyone involved knows if they need to bring information to update everyone on progress.
Set a strict time limit.
Keep the discussion on the current topic, and direct those who have comments pertaining to other
issues to meet with you offline.
The key to ensuring that meetings do not become a productivity problem is to organize the session
and ensure that the right people are involved.
A Failure to Keep Everyone Updated
You may be tired of hearing about the benefits of technology, especially when it comes to the workplace.
Nevertheless, you need project management and task delegation programs for your team. A report found that
of high-performing teams use project management software. It allows you and your team to be more agile
during the project planning phase, and to adequately understand all the moving parts. It ultimately also
enables you to see who is doing what, how far along they are, and to track task dependencies.
As capable and intelligent as the human species is, we are not machines. There is no way we can keep
up with everything that is going on around us when it's crunch time on a project. This reason is why
we could use a little help on that front with task delegation and project management software. Not
only are you making life much easier for yourself, but you will also improve upon your project budget
as well as the completion time.
Not Planning for Scheduling Hiccups
The flu doesn't care if you have a project due next week. Also, that doctor's appointment just
seemed as if it crept up out of nowhere. One thing that you and your team members have to realize
is that you all have lives and events outside of work. Many of us "know" this, but we do not show
it in how we plan our work projects. It is unrealistic to schedule a project without adding in some
additional time for potential problems.
Your IT manager may have to call out sick, or a blackout may knock your systems off your network
for a day. These hiccups will cause your team to have to work harder and longer, which makes mistakes
more likely. Be sure to add in time for things to happen. The last thing you want is to have to pull
a week of all-nighters and increase the risk of plummeting employee morale and errors.
Having a Revolving Door
Are your employees satisfied? If so, excellent! If not, that is okay. You can turn the ship around.
When they are satisfied they will be more likely to be engaged, which will lead to them being
productive. If they are all three of these things, they are less likely to walk out of the door.
Your job as a leader and employer is to ensure your turnover numbers are low, and that your workers
want to work for you.
Yes, people leave jobs every day, but it becomes a massive problem if this becomes the norm. High
turnover can negatively impact productivity. Here are some ways to prevent this from becoming an issue:
Have an exceptional onboarding process: Many employees decide to leave a company within
The onboarding process has a lot to do with this. So, ensure that your onboarding process adequately
acclimates them to the company, answers any pressing questions they have, and gets them hitting the
Make training a regular part of the job – Professionals want to level-up. A study revealed that
of respondents said job training and development influenced their decision to stay at a job.
As a result, be sure you have a way for employees to tell you what they want to learn, and a
way to facilitate it.
Ensure that feedback is a priority – Employees want to know how they are performing. In fact,
of employees who receive regular feedback report feeling more fulfilled in their jobs. So, make
a practice of ensuring all managers are offering regular feedback that helps your employees not
only succeed but also become more engaged.
There are a variety of ways you can decrease turnover, but these are a few to get you started to
prevent one of the most significant threats to productivity.
Nothing tanks productivity faster than burnout. When your employees are burned out, they are no
longer in a state to be engaged, much less productive. This reason is why you should always make
sure your employees have a manageable workload. While it may be cost-effective to have one
professional doing the job of two people, it is going to backfire in the long-run. There is an
eventual threat of diminishing returns. Here are a few ways to combat burnout:
Survey employees – Ask them how they are feeling about their work, and if
they think they have enough time to get their tasks done.
Ensure the right department is handling the right tasks – It is okay to
allow employees to shadow other departments, or even help out with a few projects to further
their knowledge. However, no one should be permanently taking on tasks that are not in their
lane without a formal discussion and a look at how it will alter their schedule. So, always
do checks to make sure the right department—and employee— is handling the right asks.
Allow work flexibility – Will it benefit your employees to allow them to
have a flexible start time? Can your team be more productive if they are allowed to work
from home once or twice a week? See if you can add in some work flexibility to prevent
feelings of fatigue or constant burnout.
Your goal here is to listen to your employees and see where you can lighten their load. The less
burned out they are, the better they can handle their daily work tasks.
Failing to Recognize Your Employees
If you do something nice for someone, a thank you from the person you helped drives home the feeling
that you did something good. In your workplace, you are indeed paying your employees to be there which
is acknowledgement of their work. However, showing that you appreciate their dedication and hard work
can inspire them to achieve even more for you.
A "thank you" note, gift card, or a simple showing of verbal gratitude makes your employees feel as
if their work matters. Their daily commute, early arrival times, and the handling of workplace
obstacles finally feel as if it has been noticed.
Showing employees that you care about what they bring to the table can motivate them to do more.
So, don't forget to say thank you once in a while.
Productivity Killers Don't Have to Be a Part of Your Workplace
You can improve productivity and avoid these common productivity dangers. Again, as with anything,
forethought, and planning matter. Take some time to look through each of the productivity dangers
mentioned here and see how your company can address them.
This task will ensure you have a plan to deal with them even if they have not yet shown to be a
problem. Ultimately, productivity is about the individual, and these steps above help you to focus
on empowering your employees to be productive and ensure that their satisfaction and productivity
Mind-blowing Statistics that Prove the Value of Employee Training and Development,
Over 30% of Millennials Unhappy with Their Job and Plan to Quit Within Six Months,
Project Management Statistics: 45 Stats You Can't Ignore,
The social economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies,
The Surprising Reason Why So Many Employees Quit Within the First 6 Months,
This Is Nuts: It Takes Nearly 30 Minutes to Refocus After You Get Distracted,
You Waste A lot of Time,