These are the dramatic findings of research from BACS Payment Schemes, which interviewed over a thousand employees of small firms throughout the UK and found that PC problems, printer predicaments and colleague conflict are taking up massive proportions of the average working day.
Technology tops the list of time-wasting as slow and crashing computers combine with infuriating printer jams to cost each UK employee 48 minutes every day. Dealings with colleagues also feature heavily, wasting 34 minutes a day while needless phone calls (26 minutes), meetings (23 minutes), and emails (16 minutes) complete the top five.
“Most British workers are doing more than their contractual hours – the vast majority without overtime pay,” said psychologist Nicola Barber of the results. “By addressing inefficiencies some companies may be able to reduce the hours employees need to spend at work, and at the same time, keep the workforce happy and motivated.”
BACS offers some tips to make the workplace more efficient:
- Ask employees to communicate with you about problems with other staff; for example, detailing extra work they take on due to a colleague’s absence or inefficiency.
- Collect data on absence and use it to find out who covers the extra workload and ensure they feel supported and appreciated for doing this.
- An hour’s training on a software package or in basic computer trouble-shooting can save much more time later.
- Although it may appear contrary, encouraging staff to take regular, five-minute breaks can increase productivity as staring at a computer screen for hours on end can be detrimental. Business owners would do well to follow this advice themselves too.