Finding ways to reduce procrastination throughout your company will have a direct, beneficial impact on both productivity and profitability. Here are five strategies to help managers stop pencil pushers, web surfers and chronic desk cleaners procrastinating at work and improve your business management and leadership skills.
Get to the root of the problem
People procrastinate for different reasons. It may be that they are perfectionists and they cannot let go of doing a task unless it is up to their high standards. They may be fearful that the project is too big for them to handle and not enough resources have been devoted to the project so they delay starting or finishing it. Others are unable to prioritise tasks and concentrate on less important tasks that are more fun or seem more achievable. It is important to find out why employees are procrastinating in order to address the problem.
Work with your staff’s work clock
Schedule meetings times, deadlines and important tasks when employees are more focused. For some employees, this may be early morning and for others, this might be late afternoon. If the work structure allows it, it may even better for some employees to work flexible hours or even work from home some days to increase productivity. This may help you get the best from your employees.
Encourage employees to take breaks and step aside from the computer
Taking regular breaks during the day will increase productivity; ease the boredom of doing monotonous, repetitive tasks and helps employees stay motivated at work. Having scheduled break times will help stop the impromptu breaks taken to check personal emails, surf on the internet and do other tasks that are not work-related.
Schedule regular work in progress meetings
Schedule regular meetings to monitor your team’s work and set weekly deadlines to avoid a last minute rush to get work done. There is a fine line between managing and micromanaging your employees so make sure you don’t step over the line.
Change the work environment
The work environment such as an open plan office may not be conducive to an employee and may encourage procrastination. They may have other colleagues distracting them from their task or it may be a loud, noisy environment. If the employee is working on a report, if possible, it may be better for them to sit in a quiet office or a cubicle where they cannot be distracted from their task, reorganising desks so they cannot disrupted by their colleagues or installing higher cubicle walls to ensure more privacy.
Procrastination can be very demotivating to a workplace. Following one or more of the simple strategies above will help you and your company work smarter not harder – with less stress and better business management. Read our article on Why good people miss badly set deadlines to find out whether the employee is procrastinating or whether they cannot meet unrealistic deadlines.