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Why your staff procrastinate 52 minutes a day

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On average, your employees spend 52 minutes of their work day procrastinating. The good news is, you can do something about it. The even better news: procrastination isn’t necessarily a bad thing to begin with.

These are the conclusions from a survey by office supplies company Vikings. The company polled over 1,500 office workers across the United Kingdom to gain insight into their procrastination habits.

They found that the average employee spends 52 minutes a day procrastinating. The internet is the most used tool, with 57% and 30% of respondents saying they spend time on Facebook and Twitter, respectively, when they’re avoiding work.

If you’re looking to reduce the amount of time your employees spend not working, a good first step is to identify the reason behind their procrastination. Interestingly, the survey results suggest that less than optimal work processes may be one of the main causes that lead staff to take a break.

Nearly half (48%) of office workers said they procrastinate because they’re waiting for other people to complete their work before they can continue their own. Although some waiting time cannot be avoided when working in any company that exists of more than one employee, it is worth it to make sure your internal work processes run as smoothly as possible.

Of course, for most employees it’s unlikely that having to wait for a certain piece of work to come back means they have no other work they could be doing. Admitting to that, 40% of respondents said they procrastinate simply to take a break from the work stress they’re experiencing.

To reduce stress-related procrastination, try to keep the top triggers for stress to a minimum. Ensuring employees know what is expected of them and resolving any conflicts between departments can help staff feel more relaxed.

If, after taking measures, you still catch employees checking their social media accounts or browsing the latest news online, don’t worry too much. Taking a break every now and then could actually improve productivity overall.

“If an employee is struggling with their work, a quick break can help them take a step back and think about their situation in a new light”, Gemma Terrar, European HR Business Partner at Viking explained in a statement.

She added: “Ultimately, companies want their employees to work to their full potential, so they should consider break and social media policies that balance the downtime and productivity of a workforce”.

ALSO READ: Do 17 minute breaks really work?

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