Due to the last few months' events, almost every organization is today trying to get its operations back on track. Right now, companies need extra support from their employees to regain their clients and productivity back.
But, unfortunately, not many employees are willing or trained to help their organizations in the right manner. In fact, a Harvard Business School study shows that 78.1% of workers experience involuntary idle time in their job on a weekly basis.
Here, idle time doesn't count leaves taken by your employees. It's time that your employees waste due to scheduling errors, commuting, lazy chats in the hallways, and so on. Now, idle time isn't something which is caused by employees only; employers are also equally contributing to it. How?
Well, let's take a deeper path and, in detail, study what idle time is and how it can impact your organization.
What is Idle Time?
Idle time is a period for which your employees are available for work, but they aren't actually working. This time could be waiting time or wasting time. Confused? Well, let's take an example—
Suppose your marketing team has to share a hot lead's details with the sales department in the morning, but the information doesn't reach the sales rep until the afternoon due to an urgent meeting in the office. Now, the time between morning and afternoon is idle for the sales team where they were available for work, but because of the marketing team's latency, they couldn't work.
On the contrary, if the sales team receives all the intel from the marketing department on time, but sales reps unnecessarily extend their lunch break or spend working hours on random chit-chatting with their colleagues, this is called time-wasting.
In both scenarios, one thing is common — mismanagement and misutilisation of your organization's resources. So, it doesn't matter whether idle time happened due to your negligence or employee's intention; it's harmful for your organization and needs to be fixed instantly.
What Are the Causes of Idle Time in your Organisation
At TrackOlap, we often encounter companies that don't even know what idle time is. Shocking, but true. Therefore, we always advise companies to analyze their team's performance with our Employee time tracking Software first and then pinpoint all the causes of idle time in their organizations before taking any further action.
Every organization has different causes of idle time, but the common causes that we often see are:
If your employees aren't fully efficient in performing a task, it leads to idle time. Your employees need frequent breaks to avoid burnout and stay focused. If you put intense pressure on your employees, it will make them inefficient in performing their job. Therefore, always make sure that your employees are always in the right state of mind to work efficiently.
Poor workflow coordination
If there's no coordination between your employees or departments, this will create chaos in your workflow and unnecessarily cause idle time. This problem is often seen in remote environments. Due to a lack of proper coordination or tools, remote employees often struggle to coordinate, which wastes lots of the company's time.
Companies, your faulty and outdated infrastructure is one of the prime causes of idle time right now. If you take the remote work example again, you can see many companies are today using obsolete methods to manage their remote employees, which is a sheer wastage of time. Today, to run remote work operations, you need a compact tool like TrackOlap that can let you track, monitor, and analyze through one portal.
Natural or accidental disasters
Nobody would ever have imagined two years ago that lockdown and social distancing would become an integral part of our lives. But now, they are causing great havoc in every part of the world. So, similarly, accidental and natural disasters contribute a lot to idle time like power cuts, floods, etc. So, make sure to have a backup plan like work from home to handle disasters.
If your employees aren't satisfied or have a good experience working in your organization, idle time can be raised. That's simply because dissatisfaction and frustration can directly
impact a person's zeal to work. Therefore, it is essential for businesses to make sure that their employees are fully satisfied and happy with their company culture.
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How to Reduce Idle Time in your Organisation
Once you analyze what causes behind idle time in your organization are, the next obvious step is to solve them. Here based on the common idle time causes, the TrackOlap team has proposed the following solutions to reduce idle time in your organization:
Be open about the topic
This is the first thing that managers and employers should do to reduce idle time in their organizations — they have to acknowledge it. They have to openly discuss this topic with their team and remove the idle time stigma.
If you tell your employees that feeling idle or unproductive is a common thing and you are always here to help them, this will encourage them to come forward and discuss idle time problems freely with management.
To strengthen this openness, we have added a shareable report feature in the Employee Monitoring System This way, employers can share real-time productivity reports with the concerned employees and help them understand why their idle time has increased. Also, employees can refer to these reports to self-evaluate their timesheets and find a way to reduce their idle time.
So, to handle idle time in your organization, first, go and acknowledge it.
Make idle time relaxing
This point might have confused you a bit. So, let's elaborate it, people; we are here referring to the good idle time that your employees need to stay healthy and focused. For instance, your employees need lunch breaks, washroom breaks, and small power breaks throughout the day to avoid burnout.
So, here you have to make sure that your employees are utilizing these breaks properly. Suppose you give 5 minutes a no-screen break after every hour to your employees so they can rest their eyes. But instead of shutting off the screen for 5 minutes, your employees use this break to check their social media accounts; now, this is not a proper utilization of the break.
In this case, you can use applications/websites usage tracking features to ensure that your employees remain off-screen to fully relax their minds during the break. This way, you can make sure your employees' well-being and performance won't go down.
Improve team collaboration and communication
On many occasions, we have seen that waiting for a response or confirmation from seniors causes involuntary idle time in the organization. Especially in remote work settings, employees often complain that they won't receive feedback from their team members or managers on time, which leads to idle time.
Therefore, by clearly defined communication and collaboration plans, the waiting time of your team can be reduced dramatically. Through the centralized collaboration system, a transparent environment can be created for both employees and employers.
For example, employers can mark priority tasks on the assignment sheet for employees on our time tracking System. Similarly, employees can receive instant feedback on their assignments. This two-way communication from a dashboard reduces lots of waiting time for your organization.
Individual idle time analysis
This is something that we advise to all of our users. We recommend not to analyze the overall downtime of your team. That's because collaborative team analysis won't help you find weaklings in your staff and help them.
Imagine there are 100 employees working in your organization. Out of which only 20 employees come to the office late, unnecessarily take long breaks and delay their tasks. Now, in collective analysis, you will only get to know that 20% of your team is idling.
And, based on this data, if you scold your entire team, this won't help slackers but might take your hard-working employees' morale down. Therefore, we have programmed our time tracker to generate individual performance reports so managers can offer individual feedback.
This also allows managers to practice reward and punishment strategies to reduce idle time in the organization.
Pro Tip: Proper scheduling
Yep, we have saved the most important tip for the last. Creating a proper work schedule is a two-way street on which employees and employers have to walk together.
Employees, if your employers have allowed you to set a flexible work schedule, you should take full responsibility to deliver work on time. Similarly, employers should give achievable deadlines to their employees that won't burn them out.
For this, open communication and work allotment platforms are required, which you can find in TrackOlap easily.
Idle time is both good and bad for your organization. When you are offering a break to your employees for relaxing, it's good. But, when your employees are wasting your time intentionally or unintentionally, it's bad.
So, to understand the difference between good and bad idle time, you have to constantly monitor and analyze your employees' performance. And for that, you need to get a powerful and modern tool like TrackOlap.
Contact TrackOlap our team today and reduce idle time in your organzation effortlessly!