Research commissioned by Red Letter Days for Business found that workers are wasting time on mundane office tasks, including replying to emails, attending pointless meetings or completing admin.
The research identified six key areas where UK employees are wasting their time:
- Too many meetings that go on for too long (46%)
- Too much admin (38%)
- Too many emails (29%)
- People management i.e. misbehaving colleagues (25%)
- Technology being slow (24%)
- A micromanaging boss (21%)
Employees spend an average of 1.2 hours every single working day in meetings, totalling six hours every week, whilst 22% say their time is eaten up by admin tasks, such as filling out timesheets.
Overflowing inboxes also prevent employees from getting things done, with 45% of workers saying they have to respond to emails out of their contracted working hours to keep up. 26% said that they have trouble finding documents due to their email volume.
It seems our modern office environment has created bad habits. Technology, such as emails, should be speeding up processes not slowing them down. Something is going very wrong here. Businesses’ need to work together to retrain on areas like email etiquette in the workplace and to encourage better collaboration and efficiencies.
The research also found 42% of employees have seen no response from their employer to the Government’s ‘Fixing the Foundations’ plan, launched in 2015 to improve productivity levels in the workplace.
Employees were also asked about what could be put in place to help improve their output. The top five responses included:
- Flexible working (22%)
- Better technology (19%)
- A happy workplace (17%)
- Increased job satisfaction (15%)
- Better recognition from senior management (14%)
The fact that flexible working is at number one is very interesting, most jobs now require us to be flexible with our time; in fact 44% of employees polled confirmed they did overtime because they have a flexible role and work to complete a job, rather than work specific hours. Yet, with 57% of employees confirming they only work from the office, it seems businesses need to catch up with the flexible working idea.
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A version of this article first appeared in HR Grapevine.