Zap and blast the irritations! It’s all about productivity…

In this two minute HR Blast our focus is on making easy tweaks and changes to how you operate in order to get significant gains in productivity. Now that’s got to be good for business!

If you have a seven hour day, how easy is it to waste 50% of your time? 

  • Catching up with three people as you arrive at work – 15 minutes
  • Doing the coffee round five times – 25 minutes
  • Constantly getting distracted by your emails zapping in or Facebook messages pinging through – 60 minutes
  • Sitting in a meeting waiting for the last person to arrive before you begin – 10 minutes
  • Having lunch at your desk while you slowly work through a document and then going out to shop during your lunch break – 20 minutes of slow activity
  • Redoing a document because you messed up the calculations first time around – 15 minutes
  • Playing email ping pong with someone when trying to set up a meeting, when you could have just called them instead – 20 minutes
  • Dismantling the printer, which has paper jammed in it after not checking the paper you loaded went in flat – 35 minutes
  • Texting your other half to check how their day is going – 10 minutes

Shall we go on?  Better not, because this lot has already consumed 3.5 hours – and half of your day has already gone!

But no point in moaning and groaning, here are a few tips from Jaluch for you to launch in the fight back against time wasters:


  • Identify who cannot effectively use the technology they have. Put in place a plan to resolve this as it’s simply crazy that staff are issued with technology they don’t know how to use. Draw in colleagues to deliver training sessions so knowledge is shared around the business and training is achieved at no additional cost.
  • Identify if old technology is holding staff back and what the cost of new technology would be if offset against productivity savings. Don’t scrimp in one area only to find you lose money in another!
  • Look to your leaders. If they are technology dinosaurs then introducing technology to improve productivity will be like trying swim through treacle. Get your leaders on board and instead of mocking them, try offering support and training.
  • Get HR to work more closely with IT. Get IT to work more closely with HR. And no childish arguments! The two departments cannot work separately and against each other if productivity is to be optimised.

Time keeping

  • Start all meetings promptly. Late comers will just have to catch up with what is being said. Instil prompt attendance as a good workplace discipline for all staff and managers.
  • Put an end time on all meetings. It’s amazing how much you can zap through when time is restricted and everyone knows the end point.
  • Remind staff that when they arrive at or return to work, they need to work along the principle of arriving five minutes beforehand so that they are at their workstations on time. Those who ‘drift in’ waste huge amounts of time.


  • Tell staff that each and every time they press ‘reply to all’ that they should be able to justify why everyone needs to be involved or see their response. Make ‘reply to all’ an exception rather than the norm.
  • Tell staff that they should be able to justify who they copy into emails and what purpose it serves. Set staff a target of reducing emails that include more than one recipient by 50%
  • Show those staff who don’t know to do it, how to get emails sent automatically to a folder that is not their inbox. This is great for newsletters etc. that don’t have to be read and dealt with immediately.
  • Ban email ping pong! If a meeting needs to be set up and that hasn’t been achieved in an email exchange of three emails, then require your staff to pick up the phone to sort it.
  • Stamp your foot if people don’t bother to include a subject header with each email. This is essential for finding information easily when it’s required.

Working relationships

  • Don’t watch and wait for an explosion if you can see two people not getting along. If they don’t get along then both their work and the work of others will be affected by the fallout and ill tempers. Instead, the minute this happens get them into a room and discuss a way forward.
  • If colleagues are friends, then make sure they know that the friendship can wait until outside of working hours but during working hours they should limit chat, gossip and organising their social life etc.
  • Managers can’t be so remote from their staff that if they were honest with themselves, they would admit that there really is no working relationship in existence. If you want to keep staff motivated and engaged to keep productivity high, managers need to put time into developing relationships, not just dishing out work.

Red mist
Finally let’s turn to those things that cause steam to come out of our ears and our blood pressure to rocket. Every organisation has a few of these and the impact on productivity as a result of anger, irritation, stress, frustration etc. can be enormous:

  • Do you have one piece of equipment that is always breaking down and that simply causes staff to go into meltdown when they are trying to get something done? Identify what equipment it is and get rid of it. Nothing is worth that much stress.
  • Do you have one person who causes others to make noises like an exploding pressure cooker? Identify who it is and tackle it head on. Your productivity figures will thank you for taking action.
  • Do you have one client or customer that causes more stress than the rest of them combined? Dump them. You might just find the energy and positivity this brings to the team will more than make up for lost revenue.
  • Do you have one supplier who everyone hates? A supplier who causes you more grief than they solve? And who distracts you from doing what you need to do to keep the organisation working efficiently? Get rid of them. Now.

Hopefully some of the above will be a good reminder of a few really easy things you can do, usually at no extra cost, to improve your productivity.

But if your managers are still lacking in confidence or know how, why not set up some one-to-one coaching with one of our advisors. We can work through how to successfully manage staff issues, understand better how to tackle absence issues, address under performance and deal with personality clashes. Always better to put time and effort into up-skilling the managers than managing the complex issues that arise when situations go unmanaged.

Call us for ideas on training, coaching and day to day advice. We support hundreds of companies around the UK and we pride ourselves on the level of support we provide. Get in touch!

The information contained within this article is for general guidance only and represents our understanding of employment and associated law and employee relations issues as at the date of publication. Jaluch Limited, or any of its directors or employees, cannot be held responsible for any action or inaction taken in reliance upon the contents. Specific advice should be sought on all individuals matters.

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