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Tackling time wasting at work

Tackling time wasting at work

Employees in the Jordanian public sector are reportedly up in arms after nearly 50 websites were blocked from them while they’re at work. There’s a better way, thinks Sam Potter.

August 22, 2010 1:48 by

Most of the UK press chose to focus on this discrepancy between private and public, but I couldn’t find any who answered the obvious question: Just what exactly do staff do the rest of the time?

The most likely answer seems to be the internet, which can be surfed easily at your desk without anyone aware you’re not working. This is borne out (at least in the UK) by another set of figures out this month. Jobs website found that social media is costing the UK economy up to $22 billion in lost work time. Their survey revealed that nearly 2 million workers everyday spent over an hour on Facebook. More than half of the UK’s working population (55 percent) access social media while at work, and a third of those spend more than 30 minutes on social media sites.

“Whilst we’re certainly not kill-joys, people spending over an hour per day in work time on the likes of Facebook and Twitter are seriously hampering companies’ efforts to boost productivity, which is more important than ever given the fragile state of our economy,” said Lee Fayer, Managing Director of “Companies would do well to monitor use of social networking sites during work hours and ensure that their employees are not abusing their freedom of access to these sites.”

If you take an honest look at almost any office environment, it is clear that employees waste vast amounts of time on social media and various internet sites, so it is hardly surprising when senior management try to block sites. In fact, I’d go so far as saying I’d consider it too. But then, what do you do about new smart phones that are capable of accessing these sites independently?

No, the only solution to effective use of time at work is ultimately a motivated and empowered employee who is trusted. Rather than monitoring the websites they visit, monitor the work that they produce. That is what really matters. After all, you could force them to work all hours, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll get any faster or better.

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