Modern culture is obsessed with the pursuit of productivity. An article published in the The Atlantic last year argued that this "consumer appetite" for productivity stems from living in a society where works spills over from the office into employees' home lives, vacations, commutes and more. Productive-centered technology and various time management techniques support this obsession, keeping people moving and accomplishing more each day.
Studies show that employees waste large portions of their workdays due to non-work related, time-sucking activities. A CareerBuilder Harris Poll of 3,022 full-time workers and 2,138 hiring managers and HR professionals across a wide range of company sizes and fields sought to identify the top productivity killers in the workplace.
The largest time waste discovered was cell phone use, with 50 percent of employers revealing that it ruined workplace productivity. This was followed closely by gossip at 42 percent and internet use at 39 percent. While these activities all negatively impact productivity in the office, a new study found that the average U.S. worker wastes 22 minutes a day dealing with IT-related issues.
Are 22 minutes such a big deal?
Robert Half Technology, an international IT staffing provider, conducted the survey of 300 American professionals to discover just how much time employees lose because they are sorting out various computer problems. Though it may not seem like much at first, consider the average employee who works 40 hours a week, 50 weeks of the year. During a year's time, the employee may spend 91 hours a year just trying to get his or her computer to work properly. This is more than two work weeks of time!
"Technology is a double-edged sword in most organizations - it can be an enormous time-saver, but it can also be a drain if things aren't working well or people don't know how to use the tools provided to them," John Reed, executive director of Robert Half Technology, said. "A proactive and highly proficient help desk can be a huge productivity asset to companies and their employees."
What can companies do about IT-related problems?
Organizations must encourage their staff to address problems - even if they are small - as soon as they occur. Waiting until the last minute or letting an issue grow more serious before seeking assistance is never a good idea. Companies should communicate proactively and clearly about who their employees can contact if they need help. Employer can also encourage their IT staff to not just fix problems, but to share their advice about how to prevent repeated issues. Companies can replace their old, poorly performing technology with newer models, and hire skilled IT professionals as well.
"The average worker wastes 22 minutes dealing with IT-related issues."
While some IT issues may be outside of employees' control or technical expertise, many of these problems occur due to a lack of knowledge, said Craig Jarrow, the author of the book, "Time Management Ninja." Older workers may not understand how to use certain programs or fix some of the most basic computer issues - as we discussed in more detail in "A Wrong Assumption: All Job Seekers Are Computer Proficient". Employers can conduct training sessions to keep employees up to speed and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Though training is a good option, most organizations just don't have the time to spend training employees who lack the computer skills they need to remain productive throughout their workday. Employees don't want to spend their days teaching their coworkers how to use the simplest of programs. Instead, businesses may wish they would have had a better screening process to weed out current employees who didn't really have the skills needed for their position.
This is where EmployTest can help. Our computer skills assessment test will provide reliable results for businesses looking to hire candidates with valuable computer knowledge. Not only will our pre-employment tests save you time during the recruitment process, but they will help you avoid losing profits due to a poor hiring decision. Contact us today to learn more!