The Cost of Wasted Time at the Workplace and How to Reduce It

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When workers are in the workplace, they do not always work. Americans, on average, waste 2.09 hours per day not working, and that does not even include their lunch break. As for Australians, the majority, or 89 percent of all workers, waste at least half an hour every day not doing their work.

Although it might not seem like it, when time is wasted, it can cost companies a lot of money. Estimates reveal that companies lose about $759 billion per year in employee salary when time is wasted.

There are various reasons why workers end up wasting time instead of working at the workplace. However, the consequence is always the same: a decrease in productivity. It hurts the company when workers waste time at the workplace.

Here are some tips that may help decrease the problem of time wasted at the workplace.

Outdated Processes

Often, time wasted is a result of a broken system. Old organisations are guilty of this. The refusal of senior management to streamline current processes and adopt new strategies is causing the company to lose precious minutes and hours during the workday.

Businesses should invest in technology to reduce the time being wasted throughout the day. Automating simple tasks, for example, will free up time for your staff to do more important things. Meanwhile, opting for cloud servers managed by a team of experts in IT will ensure that downtime, which eats up so much time, will be prevented.

Companies in Australia lose an average of AU$144,062 per hour of downtime. Smaller organisations, on the other hand, lose over $2,000 in revenue per hour of downtime. Reevaluating current processes and adopting new technology will allow companies to significantly reduce monetary losses from time wasted.

Meetings That Should Have Been an Email

Meetings are also common sources of time wasted within many organisations. Workers get disrupted from doing their daily tasks, which means that they are taken out of the so-called “zone” or “flow.” The zone or flow is the state in which a person is deeply immersed in work. Workers will not get in the flow or zone if they are constantly interrupted by meetings.

Employers would be surprised at how productive the office would be once they remove all unnecessary meetings. A report revealed that employees spend an average total of 31 hours per month in meetings and cost companies around $37 billion annually on unnecessary use of resources and, of course, waste of time.

However, do not overdo it with the emails, either. Too frequent communication is also a distraction. The constant pinging of the notification is another reason people cannot get into the zone/flow.

In addition, checking notifications can pile up throughout the day, even for just a few minutes. The time spent on a brief peep into an email, texts, chat conversations total up to five hours a day.

Zero Collaboration


As the cliche says, “two heads are better than one.” When people work together, they can accomplish more within a shorter amount of time. Moreover, it leads to fewer mistakes.

Employees should interact and share information. A mistake can lead to large amounts of time and effort wasted. Employees will have to redo a task, for example, or people may be doing the same thing at the same time. If a team does not interact and communicate, it can be a problem.

This type of time wastage is caused by company culture. Changes in the company culture and encouraging collaboration will reduce time wasted and boost productivity.

Personal Technology Use

Many employees admit that personal use of technology to browse their social media or look things up on the web are primary causes of time wastage. In one survey, about 77 percent of employees admitted that the biggest time-waster is the internet. Google and Facebook took up a huge chunk of their attention and, therefore, time during a workday.

Employees who waste time because of personal technology use might not be aware of the impact it has on their work and the entire organisation overall. If the problem is excessive personal technology use, management should inform them by keeping them in the loop about what the organisation has accomplished and acknowledging great work. By recognising the contribution of the people who work within the company, they will feel more motivated to do their best at all times.

In general, companies waste time. It cannot be eliminated, but it can be significantly reduced to improve productivity and prevent additional expenses. Know what can be done to minimise this situation.

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