If you held a job working for an employer prior to being a business owner, you’re probably familiar with the idea of slacking off from work. At some point in time, every employee does it.
As an employee, you saw no harm in it. You’d work hard in the morning, then give yourself a couple of hours of wasting time in the afternoon. Sometimes, it was preferable to build rubber band balls than to do your work. You’d take a “toilet break” that was actually sitting on your phone checking Twitter. You’d find a way to bypass the company block so you could watch videos on YouTube. Of course, you did your work when you were required to do so, but if you saw an opportunity to do very little, you’d grab it with both hands.
Like a boss – someone whose financial future and business success ride upon the back of your employees – you don’t quite see it as the same harmless time-wasting. The idea of employees taking a deliberately long time over an important task because they fancy a break is horrifying to you – you want them to speed up, do more, be as productive as possible without feeling like faceless drones. Of course, you care about your employees’ well-being (every good employer does), but you also want your business to flourish.
That means it’s important to try and get the most out of your employees, no matter how much it might pain you to do so. If you’re running a company, you can care for your staff, but not to the point where you are so lenient it begins to impact your bottom line.
1. Give Generous Break Times
It might sound counterproductive, but one of the best ways to ensure your employees stay on task is to make sure they have regular breaks. Build it into the working day that for every two hours worked, they get a ten-minute break. Staff are far more likely to stay on task if they know they’re going to have an opportunity for a rest soon.
2. Monitor Their Phone Usage
Cell phones are eternally useful, but they can be a real drain on productivity. It makes sense to keep an eye on what’s been used where, with the likes of an indoor navigation system. You can use the same system to ensure everyone is where they should be, so spending 20 minutes in the toilets talking to a friend is no longer an option.
This might sound like a Draconian use of technology, but that’s where the inbuilt breaks every two hours come into play. You’re offering another alternative, so the least you can expect is that for those two working hours, employees will give you the best they have got.
3. Ask Staff To Justify Their Day
You don’t want to do this too often or it can all become a little 1984, but asking employees to write down where they have been and what they have been doing can be beneficial. Do it at the end of a workday when they don’t expect it, and then see if they can recall their tasks. This also works as a deterrent against time-wasting the rest of the time; if they anticipate they might be asked, they’ll spend the day ensuring they will be able to answer.