Every company has at least one employee that seems to spend more time surfing the Internet or chatting with coworkers than getting any actual work done. Even among the employees who aren’t obviously wasting time, many still admit to wasting up to an hour or so of company time each day. This could be in the form of taking longer breaks, spending time on cell phones, or other non-work activities.
But what can business owners and managers do to keep their employees on task?
What Not to Do
Even though it’s the company’s time employees are wasting, it’s important not to respond by getting too restrictive. Some companies start restricting Internet usage, blocking sites and very closely monitoring their employees. Others begin micromanaging tasks or make their employees track how their time is spent. However, these methods aren’t generally the most effective in stopping employees from wasting time.
If a website is blocked on an employee’s computer, they can simply visit that same website on their smartphone using their data plan. They’ll find other ways to continue wasting company time. Making employees track their time ends up just making them waste even more time on the time-tracking process. And when it comes to micromanaging, that can actually decrease productivity instead of increasing it.
Plus, a lot of these methods can kill company morale. But what should be done instead?
Where punishments might fail, rewards can succeed. Having an employee recognition program that provides rewards to those who are the most productive can help motivate employees to stop wasting time and be more productive. It doesn’t matter what the incentives are, so long as they’re fun perks that your employees actually want.
Employees can be motivated on an individual basis to work harder for individual rewards like an impromptu day off or a casual jeans day. Offering something like an office pizza party if a certain team goal is met could motivate your staff to work together to achieve higher levels of productivity.
Have Clear Expectations
Employees won’t be able to meet your expectations if they don’t know what they are. While productivity expectations could seem obvious to the managers, it’s possible the employees don’t know what they’re expected to do. Setting down clear rules and expectations can help eliminate any miscommunications or misunderstandings.
It’s also important to show employees how their efforts impact the company as a whole. If they can’t see how their work is helping, they may not be as motivated to work as hard. Showing them that their contributions are valued can go a long way towards motivating staff.
Some people might work better in the afternoons while others work best in the mornings. By allowing your employees to work when they’re feeling the most productive, you can help eliminate some wasted time. You also show employees that they’re trusted to get their work done in a timely manner, which transfers ownership to them. They’ll feel trusted and valued and may be able to hold themselves more accountable.