The Cost of Distracted Employees in 2021
The research into employees' productivity in the workplace has found that distracted employees cost businesses $1.6 trillion in lost productivity each year. Furthermore, it is predicted that by 2022, this figure will rise to $2.3 trillion, with distracted employees losing an average of eight hours of productive time per day.
This research is a compelling case for HR managers
to invest in tools and practices to limit distraction in their companies. It is critical to take all the factors in consideration when asking how do employees influence a business and how you can enable them to do better?
We can’t stop technology from disrupting our lives, but we can minimize its harmful effects on our work if we stay focused and stick to what matters most: our goals.
Taking Control of the Proven Catalysts of Productivity
Productivity is a matter of mental preparedness. When your employees feel like they have everything they need to do their job, including a clear brief, the right tools, the support of their teams and a good work culture, then they are more likely to be efficient teammates. These make a world of difference in how someone performs at work. Taking control of these known catalysts of productivity and factors that influence performance can genuinely up the level of efficiency in the workplace.
“Bring value to customers in every step of their journey and solve one of the biggest leadership dilemmas today: employee engagement.”
- Zsuzsanna Ferenczi, Chief Marketing Officer at Tradler
As an organization, you must ensure that not only have you laid the groundwork for employees to flourish in their work but are constantly improving your processes. And focusing on these factors will help you achieve much of your productivity goals.
The Organizational Culture
It is a well-known fact that the company culture has a significant impact on employee productivity. In addition, 91% of managers in U.S. companies say alignment to company culture is equally essential to skills and experience that a candidate possesses. Therefore, it is critical to invest in creating a good company culture to improve productivity.
A positive company culture that values creativity and innovation binds the workforce to the organization’s missions and values. This results in employees being excited to come to work in the morning, leading to higher productivity and job satisfaction.
How can a company make sure they have a good culture? A company with a strong culture is people-centric, inclusive, and welcoming to new members of staff. They provide learning and knowledge-sharing opportunities as well as support and mentoring for their employees. Organizations with good work culture have strong communication channels and encourage feedback from employees. They also have robust recognition programs to reward hard work, innovation, and creativity.
Employees are more productive in an environment where they feel like they belong. Therefore, changing your culture to promote a sense of belonging will lead to better productivity and lower turnover rates.
Work conditions have a significant impact on productivity. For example, a comfortable workspace with basic amenities, an ergonomic setting, and good lighting are just factors that affect productivity. In addition, taking adequate breaks has been known to aid productivity. Frequent breaks enhance eyesight, reduce back issues, stress, and even the risk of heart diseases!
Today, the flexibility to work remotely
and the ability to set your hours has become an increasingly popular option. However, the significance of this for productivity has been hotly debated with many conflicting opinions. On the one hand, remote work provides employees with flexibility and eliminates the hassle of commuting. In some cases, however, it doesn’t reduce distraction and makes it harder to monitor performance.
Whatever the outcome, flexible working is an essential step in reducing stress and increasing morale among employees. Either way, achieving a balance of distraction-free, quiet workspace that is easy to access is a precursor to increased productivity.
Poor social dynamics can lead to a toxic workplace and low productivity. The opposite is true for people who work at a place with a healthy social environment. They are more likely to be engaged thanks to the cordial relationships they establish in the workplace.
“It’s important to take time to build your network and nurture your contacts as you never know where a good network can take you and the opportunities it can give.”
- Wendy Lee, Director, Marketing - APAC at Blue Prism
In addition, training employees in people skills such as empathy, listening, and negotiation can be valuable to increase productivity. These skills will make employees more well-rounded individuals and enable them to succeed in the workplace by solving problems better. Finally, providing a platform where employees can voice their opinion is just as essential.
For instance, INMAGINE, a stock image agency, introduced peer support groups to its work from home policy. As a result, 40 employees are added to an online chat group administrated by an HR leader. The group acts as a safe space and enables employees to share updates and discuss concerns outside of work. The organization also conducts online meetups with senior leaders to engage employees more.
Stress and Mental Health Status
The correlation between stress and low productivity is well-established. It is a significant factor affecting productivity. Not only does it harm employee well-being, but stress can cause mental health issues. According to recent studies, work-related mental health issues are taking a significant toll on individuals, employers, and society as a whole.
A survey of 3000 people found that half of them experienced high levels of stress at work. High levels of stress can lead to insomnia, weight problems, and depression. In addition, more than one-third reported feeling very sad or depressed for at least two weeks during the past year. So it is no wonder that many people feel like they need to take some time off to recover from the mental strain that work puts on them.
The most common signs of mental health problems at work are feeling miserable, frequent absence from work due to stress-related issues, and an inability to concentrate on tasks. Some people also experience irritability with co-workers or supervisors, frequent crying spells, and feelings of hopelessness about the future. These are all tell-tale signs that you may have a mental illness.
An American Psychiatric Association study revealed that unresolved depression concerns experience a 35% drop in productivity and cost a loss of $210.5 billion due to absenteeism, medical expenses, and loss in productivity.
The workplace has undergone tremendous changes in how people collaborate and communicate. The use of technology in the workplace has grown exponentially over the last few decades and become one of the most essential factors that influence productivity. Tools like automation and machine learning are helping digitize manual work. In turn, it doesn’t just enhance productivity but also helps redirect resources to more critical tasks.
Productivity tools have been around for quite some time now. However, with newer updates and new tools flooding the market every day, user experience and usability have increased focus, leading to higher efficiency rates among people who use them.
Project management tools like Slack, Google Drive, Zoom, etc., have been designed with collaboration in mind and can be used for teams or departments to stay aligned on the project timeline. Some project management tools even come with features like time tracking, milestones, and task. However, technology alone doesn’t necessarily foster productivity.
Conclusion: Getting the Ball Rolling on Employee Productivity
New technology is undoubtedly and not quite steadily replacing the old ways of doing things. But it is not the only way to improve productivity. For example, constant learning and development
, keeping employees engaged, leading discussions on mental health, etc., will enable employees to stay on top of their work.
In addition, many small factors influence productivity. The important thing is to get the basics down and build from there—kickstart discussions with employees over productivity. Putting them at the center of the workplace ensures you have motivated and committed people to do their best work.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does lack of employee productivity affect organizations?
According to a study by the London School of Economics, "lack of productivity" led to a loss of $655 billion for employers in the USA and an estimated $330 billion globally. This includes loss due to sickness, lateness, absenteeism, and early departure.
What are some solutions to increase employee productivity?
One way to increase productivity is by implementing a flexible schedule. This would allow employees to reduce commute times and the stress that comes with it. Another solution is setting up a goal-oriented program for employees to monitor their progress and see how they can achieve them in less time.