Procrastination: secretly productive?

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As results-only work environments gain popularity, managers are becoming more aware that being at work for eight hours is not the same as working for eight hours. But why should you stop micro-managing and let staff have some procrastination time?

Downtime renews energy
A recent study from the Academy of Management showed workers who took a 10 minute Facebook  break were more productive than those forced to work without a break. Time spent away from a job renews energy and focus.

Other tasks get done
How often have you found yourself putting off one task by completing another? Whether it’s organizing their desk or sending follow up e-mails to clients, just because an employee isn’t working on their specific project or goal doesn’t mean they’re being un-productive.

Creativity sparksSometimes a task is put off because a worker is stuck for ideas. While surfing the web or focusing on something else for a while, their subconscious is still ticking over whatever issue has them stumped.

If you think an employee is procrastinating too much, ask why the employee is putting off a specific task or project.

Is it too hard?
It can be hard for workers to ask for help. Try asking specific questions beyond “How’s it going?” Ask whether there’s anything they need help with, how they’re managing a particular aspect of the project or if they want another staff member to help them for a couple hours.

Is it boring?
When a job becomes repetitive it’s hard for an employee to stay engaged. If you know a particular part of the role is tedious, make sure these tasks are interspersed with other, more interesting jobs.

Could it be overwhelming?
If a task seems monumental, it’s hard to take even the first step. Try breaking it down or asking them to give you estimates on each step of the process – “Can we have the contact list completed by Friday so we can start printing the documents by Wednesday?”

 

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