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Top 5 Productivity Killers and Solutions

What can be the top 5 productivity killers in your office?

I’d like to start this discussion with an apt quote by Timothy Ferriss that says “Focus on being productive instead of busy”.

Productivity Killer 1PAY OR COMPENSATION

Though there is a general argument that pay is not the primary motivating factor for employees, I feel it is. Employees are always smart who are well versed with the current industry position, financial constraints faced by the company, revenue deficits, and increased competition.

Problems arise only when the management is not giving a pay rise periodically and more so when the workers feel there is no equity in financial treatment with their peers both inside and outside the company.

It is true that the most contented and engaged employees feel they work for something more than just money. It’s the management’s responsibility to provide that sense of belonging and implication.

Statistics : The category “Quits” (more than 2 million Americans are voluntarily leaving their jobs every month even in a climate of business uncertainty and an unemployment rate of 7.8 percent) show that inadequate compensation is by far the number one reason that dissatisfied employees want to leave their job. It has been proven time and again that fair pay practices benefit not only the employee, but also the employer.

Solution: Open Reward System and make them stake holders in your company.

Read On: A very informative blog post about why teamwork is important when it comes to virtual teams, from Virtualhub.com

Ways to Improve Work Performance: Getting the Best from Your Virtual Assistant


Finding the Productivity Sweet Spot – View this infographic from NICE systems on time wasted at work to understand if fantasy football or facebook causes us to procrastinate more:

Top 5 productivity killers



The right kind of workspace can greatly enhance employees’ peace of mind and productivity. It only calls for a few simple design fixes in your office environment to make it much more productive.

The Color Affects System, developed by world-renown color psychologist Angela Wright, establishes that while individuals might have certain preferences for color, the effects of color influence people universally.

It the secret lies in the saturation and intensity of the color choice where highly saturated, bright colors will motivate while softer, gentle hues tend to be soothing.


Desk Location in Office

Pic Courtesy: Marieclaire.com

Letting in a lot of natural light increases productivity, energy and creativity.

Ensure that employees have the space to get up and take a walk occasionally and not chained to their cubicles rightly termed as monolithic insanity, or maybe a lounge area where they can relax for a while instead of sitting in the same place all day.

Statistics: A nation-wide survey conducted on behalf of Ask.com, in which they canvassed more than 2,060 professionals ages 18 and up, to unearth the preferences and habits of U.S. office workers when it comes to an optimally productive environment.

As it turns out, telecommuting, group projects, impromptu meetings, cubicles, sitting next to the boss, and face-to-face interactions are other big culprits.

Solution: Good Ergonomics is good economics and creating a personal space where you can tune out the outside world and maximize output is considered more valuable.

Related: Smart Ways to Compensate Employees



When it comes to office distractions or diversions, it is no wonder that the leading problem is the personal use of technology.

A surprising one in four workers confessed to spending at least one hour a day on personal calls, emails or texts while on the clock. One in five said she/he spent at least one hour every workday visiting non-work related websites.

There’s Facebook, of course, and the email from a friend with a video link followed by a coffee break.


Nine ways to tune out office distraction

Pic Courtesy: Workitdaily


The onslaught of tablets and Cloud-based computing makes it possible for more people to work distantly, but that also makes inter-office coordination a greater challenge. The burning question is whether this hyper-connectivity is helping employees to be more productive or simply leaving them exhausted?

Statistics: The survey, conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder, asked 2,138 hiring managers and human resources professionals, and 3,022 full-time, private sector workers, “What causes workers to waste the most time at the office?” Five of the top 10 culprits had to do with the use of technology.

Solution: Employers can use these insights to facilitate the new world of work and close the gap between the types of technology organizations provide and what employees truly want in order to stay productive and perform at their very best.

Related: Training Programme Evaluation


Productivity Killer 4 NOISY COWORKER

A new survey finds the biggest distraction for workers as noisy colleagues, which positively hurt their productivity.

What people find distracting at work

Pic Courtesy: Statista

Statistics: A recent survey on 2,060 adults ages 18 and up on their biggest productivity killers in the workplaces revealed a surprising 86% of respondents pointing to noisy colleagues as their productivity hitch.

They feel they are most productive when working solo in the office, despite morale-boosting attempts by companies that promote collaboration. More workers feel they prefer to spend “focus time” in their personal workspace (63%) than those who would rather work from home (29%).


  • Tell people when you are uncomfortable by the noise they produce
  • Try to use headphones though it is only a temporaray solution
  • Talk to someone who can change the situation. Aka. The boss.

Related: Integrated Organizational Development


Productivity Killer 5LACK OF CLEAR GOALS

Having clear operational goals lets everyone know what is expected of them.

If these goals are communicated and quanitifiable, employees will understand exactly what is important and what is not. Highly productive people are able to distinguish between important tasks and trivial ones.

Nothing is less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all as Peter Drucker rightly puts it.

Statistics: In a recent survey 63% of respondents said that not knowing which work was the priority wasted time.

Solution : OKR- “Objectives and Key Results”, a well-known tool, the system made famous first by Intel and now by Google asks all employees to outline their major objectives and the quantifiable actions (i.e. key results) it’ll take to achieve them. It’s a technique intended for accountability and enforced with scores.

OKRs have become much more than a goal-setting system. They serve as a layer of communication that holds the company together and elevates its position at the same time.