I f you feel like you’re working more, but getting less done, you’re not alone. Employees are working an average of 44 hours per week, but only think 29 of those are productive, according to a new survey of 1,200 full time office workers.
The “Productivity in the Workplace” study commissioned by Fellowes found respondents feel the key to productivity is making adjustments within the existing workday versus working more hours. Chatty co-workers top the list of productivity killers, with unnecessary meetings, cell phone disruptions and problems with office equipment also on the list.
Productivity can be increased by cutting meetings, creating more quiet spaces to work, making schedules flexible and updating technology.
Laura Stack, also known as “The Productivity Pro,” travels the country helping organizations of every size improve their employee and team productivity. She shares the following tips to help people make the most of their hours in the office.
1. Give disruptions the boot.
Resist the urge to constantly check email and turn off email notifications. Put your cell phone on airplane mode, instant messaging on Do Not Disturb, and let calls go to voice-mail.
2. Speak up.
Need something new in the office to help your co-workers and you stay more productive? It never hurts to ask. Office equipment, like printers and shredders, are being made with advanced technologies that can make your job easier.
3. Cut down on meetings.
Ask yourself if you really need to have a meeting. Can you cover agenda items via email? Cancel meetings if face time isn’t imperative and give colleagues more time to get their jobs done.
4. Don’t multi-task, single-task.
When you have a meeting, make sure you are 100 percent focused. You don’t want to miss crucial updates and next steps on projects, it will only hurt your productivity later.
5. Practice “on, in, around, or shred.”
Eighty-eight percent of people use paper in the office. Keep items you work with daily on your desk, those you work with weekly in your desk drawers, and those you work with monthly around your desk, in archives, or filing cabinet. Use an automatic shredder for everything else, like Fellowes’ line of AutoMax shredders, which shred up to 500 sheets of paper at a time with the simple touch of a button -which helps avoid disruptions.
6. Break it down.
If you have trouble getting started with a big task, break it into smaller chunks. Ask yourself, “What is the next action step I need to take to see progress on this project?” Then set a timer, leap into action, and focus on the next step.
7. Vary activities.
For mental and physical alertness, vary sitting activities with standing ones, mental activities with physical ones. It will help prevent fatigue and keep your efficiency high.
8. Put some fun into your work.
Turn boring tasks into a game. Make a deal with yourself that when you complete the activity, you will do something fun afterward — like take a walk or have a piece of chocolate.
9. Change of scenery.
Try to work in a different setting once a week. Whether you work from home, the library, or a nearby park, new surroundings can inspire ideas and give you the energy you need to tackle your to-do list.