The Biggest Time Wasters at Work

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If you’re wondering what the biggest productivity-killer is in your small business, consider getting rid of the water cooler.

That’s a joke, of course; socializing is a key benefit of office environments and helps build teams, so you don’t want to restrict hallway chatter too much.

According to an Amplitude Research survey of more than 300 employees, the top time wasters at work are:

  • “Water-cooler conversations” or chatting with co-workers (14%)
  • Computer and software problems (11%)
  • Meetings (11%)
  • Web surfing (9%)

You might think that Facebook and Twitter would be high on the list, but they were way down at 5%.

About 15% of employees say that miscommunication with co-workers wastes a lot of time, so communication in general seems to be a big issue. So keep meetings focused on solving real problems and make communication with employees as open and unambiguous as possible. And 17% of workers say that office politics eats up a lot of time; that’s another thing that a small business owner can help just by setting the right tone.

So don’t throw out the water cooler just yet. Start with focused meetings and communication.

Adapted from Social Media at Work: Not Our Biggest Time Waster at CIO Insight.