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Procrastination at work, and why we do it… 97

Low productivity in the workplace is becoming more and more common in the digital age, and taking a larger toll on businesses as a whole. Procrastination at work is reaching a scary state, as statistics suggest that levels of procrastination have more than quadrupled in the last 30 years. But why do we procrastinate, and can we reduce our tendency to be inclined to it?

There exist 3 single causes of procrastination:

  • Physical distractions
  • Emotional discomfort
  • Physical discomfort

Physical Distractions

It’s no surprise that in the workplace today we are prone to distraction. Our offices are comprised of the newest technology from our laptops to our mobiles. However, these distractions are posing serious threats to the well-being of our businesses. The Telegraph, estimated that on average an employee wastes 60 hours at work monthly, that’s  over 700 hours per annum lost due to the employee’s inability to stay engaged. Nonetheless, it is probably not realistic to eliminate these distractions from our place of work, given that we live in the technological age of the 21st century. . Although technological advances have increased the chances of distraction and procrastination, our technology can also help us concentrate more efficiently when used correctly. Apps like Eye Leo and Focus Lock are proven to help laptop users work more efficiently by taking little and often breaks rather than long bouts of procrastination.

Emotional Discomfort

The impact of emotional discomfort further amplifies the problem of procrastination. Stress in particular is causing a major point of concern. When this stress is not handled well, absenteeism and medical compensation increase, whilst levels of productivity decrease. Forbes revealed that over 34% of people in the UK claim to suffer from  high levels of stress within their workplace. In order to combat stress in the workplace and to alleviate this emotional discomfort, efforts should be made to truly understand the real causes of stress in the workplace. Without proper understanding of the causes of stress even the most well-meaning and organised of HR teams can find itself focusing energy and resources on the wrong areas.

Physical Discomfort

The final factor that hinders our productivity in the workplace is our physical discomfort. Working in an uncomfortable or unsuitable environment forces us to shift our attention from what should be our prime focus, work, to our distress with our uncomfortable office conditions. Andrews Sykes sought to explore the visible effects of workplace temperatures on employees’ levels of productivity. The eye-opening results are visualised in the infographic below:

Andrews Sykes Temperature Wars infographic

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