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Top 5 Productivity Killers at the Office

Expert Mod 100+
P: 2,330
3 months ago we all decided it would be best to work in an actual office, instead of from home. In order to increase the level of professionalism and productivity in our day to day work, one thing we decided we wanted to do right from the start was try to track our productivity in the new work environment.

We gathered our entire office into the conference room, busted out the whiteboard and started listing all the software and tools that distract us and keep us from doing our work. Here is what we came up with and why we had to give them the boot . .

IM: (AIM, MSN, Yahoo, Google Chat, Twitter)

PRODUCTIVITY KILLERS! Ok so hey we're not totally out of our minds, we do use these tools at times to keep in touch with our staff, partners, and contractors. The reason that we say it's a real productivity killer is because of all the non-work related chatter inherit with these programs. You get links to the latest you-tube videos, rants, bored "whatups" from people with nothing better to than waste your precious time. It takes a good 15-20 minutes to get back in the zone and being productive, you can just imagine the effect this has on people over an 8 hr work period. Twitter is a whole other beast. If in a few months my co-workers and associates asking me to get on twitter, I will permanently unplug my Ethernet connection.

Internet Browsing

Yes, it's great having information at your fingertips and the browser has been the single best tool at getting us information hosted on thousands if not millions of servers across the inter-planetary-galactic-universe-watchamacallit. The problem is it's not only information. Any worry, thought, inkling for a bit of mid-work entertainment and boom, off to browser land and onto your favorite World Wide Web Address. Mix the Browser with IM and you got a lethal concoction of mindless stupor that can lead to hours of ROFL, LOL, checkdisout!.
Search (Google,Yahoo,MSN)

Once again, great tool with tremendous benefits. But it's never just used for what it's ideally meant to be used for. The Search Engine is the new Calculator of our time. We just don't have to think anymore. Any problem, question, thought we have can now be Google'd. Yes just Google away and hope that someone else has done all the hard-thinking work for us and posted it in some forum, some blog, some article. Most of the time unless it's technical, it rarely helps and we find out hey we actually need to put some thought into our work. Throw in a mix of ads, irrelevant search results and my search for the answer to my latest problem lands me on a blog about why my dog feels the need to hump my neighbors leg.
Oh how I detest this. If this list was up to me and not the whole staff at our office, every item on this list would have to do with the fax machine! Why is it in the time of IM, 2gig Emails, VOIP, Wireless web on my iPhone, that I still have to run to the stupid FAX machine? The thing takes 1 page at a time with it's AOL Dialup like buzzing like sound. The only improvement in the decades this machine has been around is that now it comes combined in all-in-one. It's a total killer, there needs to be a better solution to send documents securely between two parties. There is money to be made here. Someone needs to get on it. If I am still using the fax machine in 5 years to send secure documents, please feel free to come and kick me on the shins!

Now this is a great tool, I'm not putting down its immense usefulness. I am putting down the people that don't know how to use it and the people that think I really want to know how to enlarge an appendage on my body and that I need to know about everyday of the week. Why do I have to dig through 100 emails to get to the one that is most important to me. Why? Why? Why?

And even when I get to the important ones, the senders don't have a clue how to use the subject box to title an e-mail properly, either using "Help", "Respond back", "ASAP" . Mind you, these are the same subject titles used by the good folks at AcmeAppendageEnlargement Inc.
Now all the tools and services mentioned above are great. They've done a lot to help people in business stay connected and share information at amazing speed. We've gone from a world of writing letters (that had formal etiquette) to a using various communication tools with no generally accepted guidelines for use. These are great tools, but used improperly they seriously drain productivity. We can't escape using them if we want to be part of what's going on in society. So we have to adapt and learn.

What do you do at your company(or in your professional life) to kill the productivity drain associated with these tools?
May 27 '08 #1
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16 Replies

Expert Mod 10K+
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The first time I read this I laughed but then I realised how true it is and that I am at this very moment unmining my productivity. Oh dear! If anyone does have a solution, I would love to hear it.
May 27 '08 #2

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Good points, all. But I think that the IT community is a different sort of animal.

For instance, do you know how long it took to re-route my AIM traffic over port 443 because the network admins were blocking AIM? So much productivity... gone!
May 27 '08 #3

Expert 5K+
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I think a worse productivity killer is using poor applications and hardware. Tell those IT guys to give me some updated machines so I'm not working on 3 year old equipment! Geeze!
May 27 '08 #4

Expert Mod 15k+
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I'm afraid this site is my main productivity leak :(

Not that it has no positive effects. Far from it. But my time and attention is often pointed this way.

PS. Like the article. Great layout.
May 27 '08 #5

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P: 692

I think , if one makes use of internet sources in a limited way and only for office use then it will not affect the productivity of the company. In any company , web sites which are not related to office work should be restrictied which will help in professionalism and increase productivity.
May 28 '08 #6

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Ah so if we censor the employees and only allow them to use "approved" sites then we will surely increase their productivity. Since we all know when you run into an IT problem there are only a few websites that you need to look at. It's not like you have to search through dozens and dozens of websites to find a workable answer.

And I agree, we should not let employees look at news sites or listen to internet radio since they do not directly relate to office work. For that matter neither does checking their internet mail, we wouldn't want them emailing their great aunt Gertrude when they are supposed to be filling out those TPS Reports!
May 28 '08 #7

Expert 100+
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There are programs that electronically fax pages across. My office currently uses one. However, they are not inexpensive either. Have yet to find a free one that works on all the useful filetypes.

Should add thescripts to this list.

Agree with pbmods.
Every 2 weeks, I have to find a new working proxy. As little as 1 hour, and as much as 4 hours is wasted!!

G-Mail is really essential though, when our office e-mail goes down, or when working after hours off the network.
May 28 '08 #8

Expert 5K+
P: 6,050
I spottied a typo!!

"inherit in these"
should be
"inherent in these"

Get it fixed!
May 28 '08 #9

Expert 2.5K+
P: 4,871
This article presents an archaic model of employee management. There is one effective way of affecting positive performance - deadlines. Don't employees have regular reviews, especially if they don't meet agreed timelines?

Working in IT is supposed to be fun. To sneak in development inbetween appearing to only be surfing the Net and IM. Its like college, no one I knew ever studied but they all got A's.

If you love what you do no one needs to ban any (well except when they affect security) tools. What a pity everyone in this office is afraid someone is looking over their shoulder. I think back to a tour of Google offices I saw - games rooms and lots of fun stuff. Work doesn't have to be constant reminder that its a four letter word ;).
May 29 '08 #10

Expert 100+
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Very True and totally agree!!.....These are all external tools used all over the WWW. But I would also like to include other internal tools within an organization which are not used in the way it has to. Eg we have Lotus Notes SAME TIME Tool which is meant for the purpose of discussing anything official with anybody with in the organization.But most of them inculding me :) use it for personal chats with the colleagues most of the time :)
Jun 1 '08 #11

P: 1
Typical IT drone mentality. If you are having productivity problems then look to management, not IT, to solve the problem. The things listed here are tools not toys. Managers, grow some balls and *manage*.
Jun 1 '08 #12

Expert 100+
P: 1,247
Nice article, but you're not going to get very far with restricting , as the more you restrict people, the more they're going to be creative in finding new ways of having fun. I can easily imagine myself playing a game of "paint-printer-shredder" in some years when I have a job. Take away the shredder, it could be replaced with scissors, take away paint, it could be replaced with ASCII-drawings, take away the printer, hello pencil, and so on.... To get back on track, it's more efficient to give people a good reason (like a deadline) to stay away from the productivity killers, than to take the productivity killers away, as the biggest of them all can be the employees themselves (as said by someone that so far never had a job...)

PS: shredders are fun ;)
Jul 12 '08 #13

Expert 5K+
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Excellent article.

I "spottied" a lot more than one typo, but I'm forcefully restraining myself from editing them.
Jan 22 '09 #14

freelance programmer
P: 11
Searching in google for technical informations make employees more productive.
Feb 23 '09 #15

P: 1
Nice article .... points are very true, if the company restrict to the unwanted usage of sites..... I think productivity and efficiency of employees will increase. Well productivity management key points.
Mar 5 '09 #16

P: 5
No joke! Posting online and online community activity is my greatest vice, at work. But it's not all bad, I do occasionally find some extremely useful info, and try to post useful info. Great article!
Mar 16 '09 #17

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