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Working Time or Wasting Time?

BY Kirstie Beattie
Employment Law & HR

Procrastination – a word that instantly transports the mind back to university and doing ANYTHING other than reading several hundred pages of legal theory**. But did we leave our bad habits in the library? Apparently not, according to research conducted by which suggests that 89% of us waste at least some time each day. In a survey of 2,000 workers, Yakult Light discovered that, on average, we undertake around ten non work-related tasks every single day, from booking concerts, to reviewing menus, to catching up on the latest news.

This all has a profound impact on productivity, so what should employers do about it? Some employers help their employees to focus by setting specific productivity goals, however they must be careful not to stray into micromanagement. Others focus on employee engagement by reflecting positively on the contribution of each individual which makes a difference to the overall success of the business. If employees feel valued and motivated, in theory their productivity will increase. Other employers have taken the more extreme step of condensing working hours on the assumption that employees will work harder in six hours to secure an early finish each day, rather than spreading their tasks over a typical forty-hour week.

Procrastination comes at a price – not only in terms of wasted paid time, but in relation to additional costs for the employer, such as the average £4,250 spent annually by small businesses on personal printing. Whilst a little bit of leeway is encouraged, employers should monitor productivity and take action to prevent employees putting Tik Tok before their tasks.

Now if you will excuse me, I’ve got a holiday to book.

**For some people, I imagine, not me.

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