Earlier this summer on a Friday afternoon at 4:58 PM, I came across 5 Things That Waste Your Time at Work from Mashable. Eek, “Busted!” I thought.
Turns out, it’s not surfing the internet that’s keeping you from getting your work done efficiently. (Some argue that brief interludes on the interwebs help restore your sanity and productivity during a day.) In fact, it is the very nature of your job as a knowledge worker and the tools provided by your company that waste your time. Fortunately, Corporate Communications teams, ever aware of the increasingly overwhelming information flows, are taking a hard look at what’s getting in the way of knowledge worker productivity and leading their organizations to adopt practices and tools that make it easier for everyone to save time and mental frustration.
Let’s take a look at 3 of the top 5 activities that impact knowledge worker productivity and good and better ways we are seeing Communications teams solve for these challenges.
1. Trying to Contact Customers or Colleagues
According to the Mashable report, knowledge workers waste 74 minutes per day trying to contact customers or colleagues.
Instead of providing customer service, making a sales pitch, holding a cross-functional meeting, or resolving an HR issue—read getting work done—knowledge workers waste tons of time just trying to get in touch with people!While a basic corporate directory or “phonebook” on the intranet is standard at most organizations, if the directory is not easy to keep up to date or its use not a part of onboarding efforts, rest assured that most employees will continue to waste time emailing and asking around for contact information. Why? It’s easier to get answers from a person than a system!
The best organizations we’ve seen, such as Sabre, have created online platforms explicitly designed to encourage employees to share both personal and business information. This allows for people to connect on a human level via virtual systems. Sabre’s platform, dubbed SabreTown, makes it easy for employees to find others with the expertise needed to solve a business challenge. Watch how an employee at Sabre used the platform to quickly find an Italian-language expert to support a business engagement with the Vatican!
2. Trying to Find Key Information
Sixty-seven minutes a day—more than one hour—is wasted on finding information to get their jobs done.
To remedy this, most organizations are enhancing the search functionality of their internal platforms. Others are spending more energy on improving the architecture of the intranet by using employee language to organize information on the homepage. You can use CEC’s Intranet Research Employee Interview Guide to determine the right architecture and layout for your new intranet.
The best companies we’ve seen go beyond basic architecture of the homepage. These organizations are building platforms that proactively provide key information and people to employees. For example, MITRE’s “Handshake” tool proactively shares content with employees based on their role, location, and search history on the platform. Moreover, it proactively suggests people to connect with based on common interests and activities.
3. Duplicating and Unwanted Communications
Thirty-nine minutes, or 14% of all time wasted, is spent on duplicated or unwanted communication.
On any given day, employees are hit with hundreds (if not thousands) of messages from different directions. If you’re in Corporate Communications, realize that this noisy environment makes it near impossible for employees to absorb corporate messages, particularly those written for a generic audience. To solve this challenge, leading communicators closely manage the timing, tone, and channels for organizational strategy messages. Learn how Home Depot’s Communications team developed a “Month in a Box” messaging technique that helped to reduce message volume for store managers.
While message consolidation is a solid baseline strategy, we find that the best companies spend less energy on crafting communication and more on building manager and leader competence and comfort in face-to-face communication and dialogue. After all, these personalized conversations with staff are what ultimately makes or breaks the extent to which an employee can do anything as a result of a message from CorpComm.
So while knowledge workers will always find ways to waste time finding new recipes on Pinterest, watching how-to videos on YouTube, or gawking at celebrity photos, let’s make sure that those of us in Corporate Communications don’t compound the problem by making it easy to find the people, information, and tools they need to work efficiently.
CEC Related Resources
- Peer Learning Platform (MITRE)
- 4 Tips for Getting People to Participate on Internal Social Media Platforms
- Employee Connection Center (Sabre)
- Intranets & Internal Social Media
CEC Related Blogs