How to Decrease Employee Procrastination

June 13, 2016

10:15 am

A staggering 64 percent of employees surveyed in a recent study admitted to wasting time at the office on non-work related activities on a daily basis. What’s more surprising is that the average amount of time wasted among this group was 2.09 hours, which means that a salaried employee earning $40,000 would cost their employer over $10,000 per year procrastinating.

Although it’s important to create a workplace environment that is lenient enough to keep employees happy, it’s also important to ensure that your employees aren’t procrastinating to the point that it affects your bottom line. The problem is, even the most productive and dedicated employees can get distracted easily at work. That’s why it will be necessary for you to provide them with the best possible environment for productivity to help eliminate as much distraction as possible.

Here are four ways you can change up your company policies and procedures to reduce procrastination and enhance overall efficiency.

1. Offer Offsite Escapes

Working in the same place from nine to five can be enough to drive an employee into procrastination mode. If possible, offer a few offsite options where employees can get their work done in a new environment. You could find a coffee shop with solid WiFi in your area, and designate that as a remote work space for your employees, or invest in a membership at a co-working space in your city if you’d like it to be a bit more organized. If you’d like to let them choose where they go, so long as they get work done, set them loose in the city to find an inspiring remote work spot of their own. There are lots of places to find free WiFi in outdoor parks and other city sanctioned structures.

2. Keep Meetings to a Minimum

Although their intent is novel, excessive meetings destroy employee productivity by taking them away from projects at important times. Keeping the amount of meetings your team holds on a daily basis to a minimum will be key to beating procrastination in your workplace.

Start by setting guidelines for when a meeting is necessary versus when a simple chat or email would suffice. If you have the ability to, try designating a three or four hours a week to “focused work time,” where meetings are not allowed to be scheduled so that individuals have time to focus on their work outside of meetings.

Entrepreneur offers up an excellent guide to help you cut unnecessary meetings out of your employees’ day.

3. Utilize Interns for Smaller Tasks

Your interns are at your company to learn as much as possible while also getting their hands dirty. The experience they gain at your company will better position them for full time work later on. This is why it is important to let them get in on projects as often as possible.

If you find that your employees dislike a certain task or project, see if you can bring an intern in on it to get a fresh perspective.  Chances are, the intern will be more excited to get the work done than the full time employee because they will actually learn something during the process. This will help your intern learn something new and save your employee from dragging their feet while trying to complete something they have no desire to work on.

4. Get Involved with Projects

Arguably one of the best ways to keep your employees motivated is to get involved in projects yourself. The benefits of this are twofold. First, you’re showing them that you are interested in the work they do enough to do your part in seeing important projects through. Second, you’re better able to check in on the status of what they’re working on and see if you can help them remove any road blocks if you already know what’s going on with the project.

If this is a new concept to you, Forbes offers up a pretty solid guide to successfully collaborating with your employees.

Achieving balance in your efforts to create a laid battle company culture and maintain employee efficiency can be difficult, however, it is possible when you focus on building a culture that decreases the possibility of procrastination. If you have any additional tips for business owners looking to beat procrastination, I’d love to hear them! Please share with other readers in the comments below.

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Cosette is a freelance writer and digital lifestyle expert with the goal of helping readers simplify life and work using affordable tech tools and apps. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, biking, snowboarding, and traveling.

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