Fun Friday: Weirdest productivity killers at work

One employee was caught taking a sponge bath in the bathroom sink

Fun Friday: Weirdest productivity killers at work

There are so many stimulants in the workplace that it’s easy to see how employees get side-tracked, according to Rosemary Haefner, former chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder.

Haefner said the good news is taking breaks from work throughout the day can be very good for productivity, enabling the mind to take a break from the job at hand and re-energize.

The trick is finding the right activities that promote – rather than deplete – energy.

Haefner’s advice is to give yourself permission to take a break and that is best done by setting a definite ending time.

“Not only will you have something to look forward to after you’ve worked hard, you will also know when it’s time to get back to work.”

She added that it’s also wise to surround yourself with productive people.

“Much like laughter, productivity can be infectious. Watching how others make themselves productive can inspire us to act similarly.”

Haefner also advises staff to make themselves accountable to their social network.

“Can’t seem to motivate yourself to finish or start a big project? Post on your Facebook wall that you will do it,” she added.

“Making yourself publicly accountable will make you more likely to actually do something.

“Can’t seem to concentrate? Go for a 10- or 20-minute walk. Research shows that a few minutes of light exercise can rejuvenate the brain and lead to sharper cognitive function.”

So what are the productivity killers that employers and employees should be mindful of?

In a survey from CareerBuilder, employers discussed common drains on productivity, as well as the weirdest things they caught employees doing while on the clock.

The national survey from US was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder and included a representative sample of 2,175 hiring and human resource managers across industries and company sizes.

READ MORE: Relaxation programs improve productivity

When asked to name the biggest productivity killers in the workplace, employers cited the following:

  1. Cell phones/texting: 52%
  2. The Internet: 44%
  3. Gossip: 37%
  4. Social media: 36%
  5. Email: 31%
  6. Co-workers dropping by: 27%
  7. Meetings: 26%
  8. Smoke breaks/snack breaks: 27%
  9. Noisy co-workers: 17%
  10. Sitting in a cubicle: 10%

Moreover, employers were asked to reveal the most unusual or most memorable things they have found an employee doing when they should have been working.

Some of the more memorable answers were:

  • Employee was taking a sponge bath in the bathroom sink.
  • Employee was trying to hypnotize other employees to stop their smoking habits.
  • Employee was visiting a tanning bed in lieu of making deliveries.
  • Employee was looking for a mail order bride.
  • Employee was playing a video game on their cell phone while sitting in a bathroom stall.
  • Employee was drinking vodka while watching Netflix.
  • Employee was sabotaging another employee’s car tires.
  • Employee was sleeping on the CEO’s couch.
  • Employee was writing negative posts about the company on social media.
  • Employee was sending inappropriate pictures to other employees.
  • Employee was searching Google images for "cute kittens".
  • Employee was making a model plane.
  • Employee was flying drones around the office.
  • Employee was printing pictures of animals, naming them after employees and hanging them in the work area.

Related stories

Free newsletter

Our daily newsletter is FREE and keeps you up-to-date with the world of HR. Please complete the form below and click on subscribe for daily newsletters from HRD New Zealand.

Recent articles & video

Can NZ employers legally reduce pay?

How automation can mend leaky holes in the HR budget

Exclusive feature: Building your business with better incentives

Fun Friday: Weirdest productivity killers at work

Most Read Articles

Court rules death during sex on a business trip a 'workplace accident'

Fun Friday: Weirdest productivity killers at work

Inside Air New Zealand’s innovative D&I initiative