Time theft and unproductive workers won’t just zap a company’s financial success, but it may hurt the morale of other team members too. Inc. reports that many workers don’t even work a four-hour workday; in fact, many employees are unproductive for the majority of their company time.
For employees who are contributing time and effort, watching the lax contributions of coworkers who lack enthusiasm may breed resentment and frustration. When productivity is low, and morale is tanking, how do employers take back time? The secret to boosting employee productivity is all about understanding how and why time is being wasted.
Utilizing employee monitoring software to track each employee’s time on the clock provides the details that companies need to understand the work habits of everyone on the team. Comprehensive employee monitoring software shows the big picture and can help employers properly address all those wasted hours and take steps to ensure more efficient time management.
Look for these key monitoring capabilities to help uncover time theft:
- Tracking online activity
- Video recording of online activities
- Email recording
- Chat/IM records
- Network/Application activities
Virtual Distractions: Chatting, Emailing & Surfing Away Time
For many workers, the virtual waves of the internet can be a huge time suck. While a survey at Salary.com reported that most employees only waste about an hour a week on unproductive surfing, if you multiply that one hour by every employee, the virtual distraction becomes a much bigger tsunami of time waste.
Web Surfing During Work Hours
How much time are workers wasting online? Veriato tracks and logs all internet activity for each employee. LinkedIn, Facebook, news sites, adult sites, gambling sites—it’s all documented. Some employees may waste an hour a week, but others may waste an hour every day.
This data provides a glimpse into the online habits of the team. Not only does the software track the sites, but it also logs how long an employee visited each site. Employers may begin to see trends for each employee, and that information could be useful for reviews or discussions about time management.
Keep in mind that employees may visit specific sites for company projects. An hour on The New York Times might have been spent researching a client. Companies also should use the online activity logs to gauge appropriate use of time.
Chatting and Texting
Chatting on company time—even virtually—could be yet another form of time theft, if those chats are personal. Conversations that occur on company devices are tracked, too, but this information can prove to be invaluable for many reasons. Engaging clients or other coworkers about projects should be viewed positively; internal company chats that exist as virtual idea swaps can help to foster a stronger team environment and could boost productivity.
Email logs can also point to either wasted time or productive time. Too many internal emails could lead to an unproductive overall office environment. How can anyone work efficiently if they are always answering emails? Use email logs to gauge administrative time. Ultimately, too much admin time takes away from productivity, also.
Logging On and Logging Off: The Idle Employee
Does your company have logins for the network? Logons and logoffs can hint at idle time. If an employee logs off the system and doesn’t log in for several hours, was there a reason? A meeting, perhaps? Or did the employee step away for a chat or a smoke break?
Depending on the set-up of the internal system, logons and logoffs can help pinpoint the wasted time. On the flip side, busy and productive employees may open numerous company docs and spreadsheets and continuously stay active on the network.
Help! My Employees are Slacking, and Now I Have Proof!
How should employers respond when monitoring software shows that employees are wasting valuable time? Maybe the results are alarming—lots of social media activity, idle time, constant texts, and chats for personal conversations.
One or two unproductive employees may mean that a discussion is to go over time management and perhaps even log a work complaint. However, if the majority of the team is embracing island time on the clock, it’s time for changes.
Turn Things Around
Hold a team meeting and discuss the issue of idle hours and time management. Don’t point fingers, especially if everyone is guilty. Instead, turn the negative into a positive. Companies can host in-office team competitions related to productivity.
Every month, reward the most productive team for their hard work. Maybe it’s a pizza lunch or donuts. Maybe everyone gets a gift card. Small company? Opt to reward the most productive employee. Again, the reward could be a gift card or a cool prize. Make the reward something enticing, something worth earning.
Ultimately, increasing productivity isn’t about throwing down the hammer. Use results from software to boost morale and make changes to improve productivity and time management better. A company may realize that there isn’t enough work for specific team members, while another employee is spread way too thin.
Software like Veriato not only points out time management concerns and problematic habits, but it can empower leaders to revamp processes that just aren’t working. Boosting productivity means utilizing the tools of monitoring software to dissect the patterns of the team. Understanding these habits and the reasons behind them is the only way to break the cycle of wasted time and take back the clock.
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