How to Help Your Employees Avoid Technology-based Time-wasting Practices in the Office

By Eric B. Delisle June 24, 2014 General No comments yet

Technology is great. It creates efficiencies, shortens task time cycles, boosts communication and so much more. One big problem you will face with technology in the workspace will be time wasting. Sometimes your employees will get so caught-up in being “efficient” that they forget to get their work done. As the person in charge, you hold the key to helping your employees use technology constructively and productively and avoid the costly time-wasting habits that technology sometimes engenders. Here’s a rundown on how to do this.

Information overload

This is when your employees are constantly receiving a steady stream of information from multiple sources. This could be email, a chat application, the office mobile group chat, desktop notifications and so much more. The more information an employee has to process, the less productive they become. To avoid this, streamline your communications into two batches, real-time and time-phased. Real time may be a chat application such as Yammer or a phone call while time phased could be email. The point is to limit the number of communication apps the office uses. Limit this to a simple chat app and email and this will reduce information overload.

Email overload

Email works best when it is handled in an efficient and organized manner. Employees will often find themselves buried under a mountain of email without any hope of getting time to sort through it before the next task is due. This one will require some bit of training and office culture development. I suggest creating an “Inbox Zero” philosophy for your employees to help them manage this. In addition, you may explore equipping your employees with tools that help them sift through their mail. It may seem like something they should do during their personal time but email overload wastes a lot of time at the office and works out to wasted dollars to your company.

Social media at the office

This one’s a thorny issue in many office settings. Employees want to interact with social media, management feels this is wasting precious company time so locks down everything. There’s a better way to do this. Allow employees time to use social media before work begins in the morning, over lunch and in the evening after work. In addition, demonstrate a friendly relationship with social media. If your company is on social media, encourage employees to interact with the company profiles. When employees feel like they don’t need to sneak around to look at their social media updates, you’ll find a better culture emerges around social media in the office.

Phones, tablets and other mobile devices

This is another tricky situation to handle. Employees have smartphones and that’s a reality you have to live with. But you don’t need to live with the time-wasting tendencies these devices breed. Craft a mobile device policy for your office. It does not have to be anything complex but it should cover important aspects such as device security, access to confidential information, information transmission and so on. Also, create a policy for employees who choose to hook up to the office network. Make sure you make it very clear that the office network and other similar resources are for work. If you have to, lock down the office network to non-registered devices so employees have to foot their own data bills in case they choose to spend time on their smartphones.

These methods work when implemented with enough stakeholder buy in and with no malice mixed into the measures. If you need more information on how to use technology efficiently in your business, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

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