How Many Working Hours Are Really Productive?

How Many Working Hours Are Really Productive?

January 03, 2019

Productivity has always been a focus for both employers and employees. A workday lasts eight whole hours. That seems like more than enough time to get everything done, right? Theoretically, this is true. However, there are so many distractions that an employee encounters on a daily basis.

From checking emails to chatting with your coworkers, we tend to squeeze much more than work in these 8 hours. So, amongst this myriad of activities and distractions, how productive are we actually?

In this article, we’ve decided to explore this question. Let’s take a look at how many working hours are productive and how can we increase our productivity.

What causes a lack of productivity in the workplace?

The first and foremost problem is a lack of organization from both employees and employers. HR departments oftentimes don’t provide clear instructions regarding projects, deadlines and other significant details during the traditional 8-hour workdays.

A lack of planning reflects negatively on overall performance your company’s staff. Sarah Kerr, the People development manager at EssaysOnTime , says, “Organization and a clear hierarchy are key when establishing a productive atmosphere at work. The purpose of a schedule is to both to direct employees and increase overall performance.’’

As she exclaimed, the upper management and HR should be the carriers of work culture. Without them investing effort into crafting a schedule, employees will find it easier to “give into” unproductive habits.

Make no mistake, however, about the employees’ responsibility. Increasing productivity in a work environment falls heavily upon you, not just the upper management. There are many things you can change and implement that will result in increased productivity. In the following sections, we will explore each factor and method in detail.

Using your time

We’ve already mentioned how predominant social media is in the realm of distractions. Everyone wants to know what’s going on and you’re not an exception.
A wrong approach many employees take is that they try to completely remove social media from their 8-hour work day. That is a very long period of time, and it’s pointless to try and fight your urges.

Instead, organize them. Upon arriving at the office, use the first hour for “adaption.” Check your social media, prepare coffee and organize your plan. The method is very effective because it removes your need to distract yourself. If you’ve taken care of coffee, social media and other things unrelated to work, you will become more consistent.

Not only will a consistent workflow improve your productivity, but you will also be more efficient. Interrupting your tasks with various breaks prevents you from concentrating correctly. To establish this flow, there are other tricks you can implement to your daily routine.

Do the little things

  • First and foremost, think in advance and plan your day. Before you go to bed, write down the things you need to do the next day. By accomplishing this, you won’t feel overwhelmed, and you will organize different work-related tasks much easier.
  • Have a strict schedule if you have problems being productive. If you need coffee every morning, set a time and stick by it in the foreseeable future. This schedule will create consistency in your workday. Due to this change, you will be able to focus all your energy on completing your tasks.
  • If you have problems with not responding to personal messages and emails, take the initiative. Tell people that are close to you not to bother you during your work hours. Be explicit and ask them only to call you if something is urgent.
  • Having two smartphones might seem like an unnecessary expense, but it’s a major factor when trying to increase productivity. A business phone will allow you to be up to date with everything you need for work, without the fear of being distracted.
  • For managers, it’s important to decrease pressure at work. Avoid handing out projects with deadlines that are near. Do your part of maintaining a clear schedule and avoiding chaos. This small amount of effort will turn out to be a game changer for your entire company.

Research on the topic

HR, in collaboration with top management, uses best practices to increase ‘actual’ work hours to increase productivity but the results still might be gloomy. If the HR wants to ensure that the best practices gives out best results, you should first do a deep analysis on why the problem occurs.

Conducting workplace research has always been a challenge. Firstly, different workplaces present different challenges to their employees, making comparison impossible.

Additionally, not every job is the same challenges vary from profession to profession. However, the question of productivity still stands.

To provide an answer, British-based site VoucherCloud conducted a study to look into how productive we are during our workday.

The subjects were all people over 18, with eight-hour workdays in the office. When asked “Are you productive during the entirety of the workday?”, an astonishing 79% answered “no.”

What does this overwhelming majority tell us? The news that people aren’t productive every moment they spend in the office isn’t new. In addition to this general question, subjects were asked to name their biggest distractions. Here’s how they answered, along with the corresponding time spent:

  • Time spent on social media – 47 minutes
  • Reading news online – 45 minutes
  • Munching snacks – 25 minutes
  • Making phone calls – 21 minutes
  • Searching for new jobs online – 19 minutes
  • Gossiping with colleagues – 34 minutes
  • Making hot drinks – 31 minutes
  • Smoking breaks – 28 minutes
  • Texting on phone – 27 minutes

Each entry on the list is expected, as the majority of them are known distracters for employees of all ages and professions. Calculating the time that is spent on these distractions, we’ve come to a somewhat surprising conclusion.

Out of a total of eight hours at the office, we are productive for only 3 hours and 37 minutes. Less than 50% of our office time is committed to work-related tasks. This makes for a serious case.

Concluding thoughts

In reality, we only spend less than 50% of our workday actually being productive. A multitude of factors distract us and prevent us from establishing a workflow. Being more organized and having a strict schedule will help you accomplish more and be more efficient. It’s much easier than it sounds, don’t give up.

About the author:
Jacob Dillon is a professional writer and distinctive journalist from Sydney. Being passionate about what he does, Jacob likes to discuss stirring events as well as express his opinion about technological advancements and evolution of society. Find Jacob on Twitter and Facebook.

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