In a recent Wasting Time At Work Survey, Salary.com reported that 89% of employees admitted to wasting time at work every day, with some admitting they waste at least HALF of their 8-hour workday on non-work-related tasks. According to the research firm YouGov, 20% of employees are late to their jobs at least ONCE A WEEK. A study by Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers found the average user checks their phone nearly 150 times per day. Add this all up and I’m amazed anyone gets ANYTHING done.
While no one would expect an employee to work non-stop without any breaks, I know that most CEOs would be disgusted by the enormous amount of time employees are now frittering away during paid work hours to indulge in online shopping, posting to Facebook, texting their friends, etc. The list is LONG of easy distractions in the digital world we live in. Even 30 minutes of this wasted activity per day adds up to 2.5 hours a week and 130 hours a year; and 30 minutes is easy to waste in 5- and 10-minute increments.
When employees indulge in any personal activities or “goofing off” and are not on their game, every minute they are being paid to produce is stealing from your organization. They wouldn’t think they are, but consider this: What client of yours would allow you to BILL THEM for 130 hours of work when no work was done? Not many. In short order, you’d be labeled a crook and most likely landed with a lawsuit. Or how about this: Would any one of your employees volunteer to work 130 extra free hours a week? That would land YOU in jail.
Moreover, employees using company-owned devices, Internet and e-mail to conduct personal business and visit non-work-related sites opens YOU to security risks. Over 600,000 Facebook pages are hacked every day. If one of your employees is accessing these sites and downloading files of any kind, they are putting your organization at risk for inviting a hacker or nasty virus. So why do so many employers allow this behavior?
For starters, most don’t even know it’s going on – or at least the extent to which it’s going on. So the first step in correcting this is letting your employees know that you’ll be monitoring their workstations and activities while at work. Second, you need to put in place a good monitoring software that will reveal what web sites your employees are accessing and for how long. That will eliminate a lot of wasted time because they know you’ll be watching.
Of course, that may not stop them from using their smartphone to conduct the same time-wasting activities, which is where management, by walking around, comes into play. From our perspective, the best way to monitor your employees is to utilize technology to your advantage.
Make use of group chats like Slack, Microsoft Teams or Skype For Business to stay engaged with your employees and track how often they are idle at their workstations.
Disclaimer: No amount of micromanagement is substitute for a good work ethic. If you truly cannot trust your employee to complete their tasks, that is a bigger problem than routine oversight.