March 30, 2017
More and more employees are spending large chunks of their workday on tasks they weren’t hired for, a recent survey conducted by Workfront found. In the survey, employees said they only spent 39 percent of their day on their primary job duties, down from 46 percent in 2015.
At the same time, employees are working longer hours. In 2016, the average workweek was 45.1 hours for office hours, compared with 44.3 hours in 2015.
What’s going wrong? Why are employees spending so much time on other responsibilities? Here’s a look at the top ways you could be wasting your IT team’s time, and what you can do to improve productivity:
1: Too Many Meetings
In the Workfront survey, wasteful meetings was the top barrier to work, with 59 percent of employees citing it as a productivity suck. And it’s no surprise that employees are frustrated by meetings, especially in IT where they take up a significant amount of employee time.
In fact, 27 percent of health IT professionals have said they spend 11 or more hours in meetings each week, and those who are frequently stressed are more likely to do so.
Give IT employees some of their time back and help to boost productivity by reevaluating meetings. For every meeting, question whether it is absolutely necessary for IT employees to be there. Then, ask yourself if the meeting could be dealt with in a quick one-on-one conversation, a phone call, or email instead.
When meetings are necessary for the IT team, think about switching up the format to help save time. For example, standing or walking meetings can help keep them short and to the point, while helping to relieve stress at the same time.
2: Excessive Oversight
If the IT team needs to submit each stage of their work for approval, check with management before making any decisions, or cut through a bunch of red tape to suggest a new idea, you’re wasting their time.
After all, excessive oversight was among the top three barriers to work employees listed in the Workfront survey. In addition, a 2014 survey conducted by Accountemps found that 59 percent of employees reported working for a micromanager at some point, and 55 percent of them agreed it hurt their productivity.
When everything needs to be checked and double-checked before employees can move on, it puts unnecessary bottlenecks into the workflow. IT professionals are highly skilled and highly trained. So take a step back and trust them to do their jobs well.
Your tech team will have a hard time focusing on their work and staying productive if they’re constantly interrupted. While a lot of IT involves putting out fires both in office and for clients, constantly coming to the team with urgent requests disrupts productivity. After all, 39 percent of those surveyed in the health IT survey rated changing priorities as the top workplace stressor.
Before assigning tasks, take responsibilities and existing projects into account. Sometimes schedules will need to be rearranged, but before doing so, make sure it fits within their job description. In addition, make sure you’re not always coming to the same person with an urgent need. Check to see who on the IT has the lightest workload at that point in time, and ask them to take care of anything that pops up first.
4: Email Chains
Although emails are often the primary way we communicate in the office, the truth is, they eat up time. In the workfront survey, excessive emails were rated among the top three barriers to productivity. In addition, 27 percent of those surveyed agreed that email will no longer be the main mode of communication in five years.
Before sending out emails with the whole IT team CC’d, make sure that everyone included really does need to receive the email. In addition, make sure these chains don’t get out control — before you know it, everyone in the office is sending their responses to everyone on the original email – when that wasn’t the intent.
While you want to keep the IT team in the loop, you don’t want to bog them down with irrelevant emails that eat up their time.
The IT team feels the pressure of a heavy workload, so do everything you can to help lighten the load. Avoid these common time wasting practices and help improve their productivity.
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