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The 6 biggest killers of productivity

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There are lots of factors that can impact workplace productivity in a negative way, so we’ve called out our top six to help you identify potential issues and opportunities for change in your own company.

1. Impromptu meetings

When meetings are booked into your diary you can plan around them, scheduling your day to make sure that all of your most pressing tasks still get completed. One major drain on employee time is impromptu meetings, for example when one colleague pops over to another’s desk to ask a “quick” question.

If at all possible, try to establish a culture whereby colleagues pre-warn each other by email that they will need help / input for a project or task, so that both parties can plan discussions into their working day, lessening the impact on other deadlines.

2. Music in the office

If you play music in the office, you walk a fine line between background noise that has been shown to aid productivity and too much noise that does exactly the opposite… distracts.

Some employees will like particular tracks and it may have a positive impact on their work, while others will find any song being played a complete distraction. Tread with caution in regard to music in the office and make sure you have a music licence to play it too.

3. Too many meetings

A survey byHarris Interactive on behalf of Ask.com revealed that nearly one-quarter (24 % of recipients say they spend more time in meetings talking about work than actually doing it.

Ask yourself, is a meeting necessary and if so, does it truly require your presence? If meetings are unavoidable, then read our article on how to make meetings more productive, to ensure they don’t take up more of your time than is necessary.

4. Noisy colleagues

61% of people in Ask.com’s survey said they found noisy colleagues to be the biggest distraction in the workplace.

While this could be aided by partitioned office pods or even fully walled areas, this also comes with its own problems – most obviously a culture where open discussion is less frequent leading to – potentially – creative stagnation and poor communication.

5. Inflexible working hours

A survey by Cornerstone On Demand revealed that 61% of respondents thought having some freedom in their working hours would likely help them accomplish more.

Want to know if flexi-time is right for your business? Take a read of our article on the pros and cons of flexi-time.

6. Being overworked

The issue of overworked staff is a vicious cycle. Being overworked can mean employees do longer hours in order to keep up with the workload, becoming tired and ultimately less productive.

They then work even longer hours as their productivity slows and the problem gets worse and worse as a result. Soon, you have an overworked, overtired workforce that may come to resent the work they do rather than feel excited by it.

Would you add any productivity killers to the list? We’d love to hear your views, so please tweet us with your ideas to @Flexioffices and we’ll retweet our favourites.

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