Non-essential tasks can sink a firm’s productivity

Measuring productivityA recent study puts the spotlight on a pernicious problem in the office: Non-essential tasks can sink a firm’s productivity through the proverbial “death by a thousand small cuts.”

If one could tally the minutes spent unwisely, it would likely be a sobering statistic for the average business manager.

Here are three ways your firm may be engaging in unproductive activity:

  1. Consider work habits. We are creatures of habit and therein lies both a problem and an opportunity. When a new staff member joins a firm, will that new hire bring constructive work habits or pose a stumbling block to a firm’s existing, well-performing employees? Work habits are contagious and may impact other workers in the firm. A slacker attitude is as contagious as the flu.
  2. Tapping too many hours to onboard a new employee. The on-boarding process for a new hire offers a manager a crucial window of opportunity for cementing a positive work ethic from the get-go. Cultural values will vary from person to person, but inculcating decency, open communication, and loyalty to the firm requires quality on-boarding time.
  3. An over-dependence on email. Never underestimate the importance of face-to-face communication, especially for new hires. An initial on-the-job performance review may not reveal any significant issues, but some personality types may not come forth with concerns during that initial probationary period. Those underlying problems may simmer on the back burner until unaddressed issues create a blockage in communication that stalls workflow.

Process improvement is a worthy goal. There will be a pushback any time workplace routines are revised and improved, but applying consistent quality control will win the day!

Managers should relentlessly pursue those opportunities to foster an efficient approach to problem solving. At the same time, a business manager should tread carefully, applying emotional intelligence to future interactions with staff members.

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