5 Habits That Hurt Employee Productivity

October 11, 2016 • Rehack Team


You’ve tried it all — energy drinks, listening to classical music, even doing little exercises while at your desk to stimulate your brain and keep your heart active. However, no matter what you try, you’re just not achieving maximum employee productivity.

It could be some habits you’ve formed that are keeping you from performing at your best. Sometimes these habits start out innocent, but they grow to the point of being all-consuming time-wasters — and you likely don’t even realize it. Let’s take a look at some common bad habits that might be slowing your productive self down:

1. Multitasking

Let’s just get this one out of the way — you’re not good at multitasking. In fact, no one is.

Studies have found that the human brain can’t be wholly focused on more than one task in a singular second. Instead, your brain rapidly switches its attention from task to task, giving the illusion that it’s tackling several problems at once.

That means what you think was 45 minutes of working on five tasks at once was actually your brain focusing on each task for a minute at a time — actually sounds more exhausting when you think of it that way, right?

You’re wasting your brainpower when you’re “multitasking,” never giving your mind enough time to devote to any particular task. It’s better to fully complete one task than to only halfway complete six of them throughout the work day.

By pretending to focus on literally everything around you all at once, you’re actually limiting your own productivity.

2. Checking Social Media

This one’s a no-brainer, right? There are at least 2.3 billion active social media users in the world, and there’s a strong chance that at least a few of those 2.3 billion people work with you — and you may be one yourself.

There aren’t any hard statistics to back this up, but some studies have estimated that up to 75 percent of people access social media on their smartphones during work every day. That means three out of every four workers in your office are spending at least some time checking Facebook, Twitter and the rest.

While these social media can be useful for networking and promotion, you should be careful that those business reasons are the only purposes social media serve in your office environment.

You can’t control what other people do, of course, but make sure if you’re checking your social media accounts, you’re looking at industry articles or other pertinent company information — not videos of cats.

3. Replying Right Away

The Internet has created little white mice out of what used to be patient human beings. They hear the ding, and they pick up the phone. It crushes employee productivity by making you stop what you’re doing.

No one can wait even a second to send or receive messages of any kind. Makes you wonder how people used to wait for actual handwritten notes to arrive in the mail, doesn’t it?

The same goes for the work place — when you get an email, you feel this urge to reply immediately. You return phone messages as soon as you get back from work. Text messages barely pop up in your notifications before you’ve got the response in queue.

Try waiting a few minutes before replying to that email. Collect your thoughts, and craft a thoughtful response.

Rather than wasting extra time correcting mistakes in a hasty first draft or trying to explain something ill-advised you said on the phone, take a beat and think — but not for too long. You are still at work.

4. Keeping Your Notifications On

This is somewhat akin to the intense obsession with replying microseconds to any sort of correspondence, but outside of emails and text messages, there are many notifications that will come to your phone throughout the day — and chances are, you check every single one of them.

Not only that, but it’s likely that you instinctively reach for your phone as soon as you hear a tone or feel a vibration. This habit has become so pervasive on employee productivity that people are even beginning to imagine cell phone vibrations.

A recent study of college students found that 90 percent have thought their phone was ringing or vibrating when it’s not. This is called “phantom vibration syndrome,” and it’s a phenomenon that’s been sweeping the country ever since cell phones, especially smartphones, became popular.

So if you’re picking up your phone constantly even when you just think you might have gotten a message of some kind, there’s no way you’re getting any work done. It’s time to disconnect a little bit.

Try turning off notifications for all apps besides the actual telephone. That way, you won’t miss any important calls, but you’ll avoid checking your phone for the 849th time — only to see the lock screen photo of your dog.

5. Snacking

True, everyone needs to eat. It might be a little excessive, though, to finish lunch and go back to your desk only to get up five minutes later to get a bag of Doritos.

You won’t starve if you wait longer than an hour to eat something. Admittedly, it is a funny habit people have — they eat when they’re bored or procrastinating.

It’s easy to get sucked into a vortex of constant snacking, which always requires at least one hand, constant trips to the vending machine or fridge — and equally constant trips to the bathroom and water fountain. It just doesn’t help your productivity much.

Employee Productivity

You undoubtedly have a lot going on at any one time, but you also might be sabotaging your productivity. Make a mindful attempt to see if any of these bad habits are plaguing you, and if they are, try to eliminate one — or all — from your workday. When 5:00 rolls around, you might just do a little happy dance because you got what you needed to accomplished.