DENVER — Employers looking to increase productivity should consider breaking up water-cooler talk or upgrading their software before banning Facebook.In a nationwide survey, 14 percent of knowledge workers cited chatting with co-workers as their biggest waste of time, followed by dealing with computer or software problems (11 percent). Five percent (5 percent) of respondents cited Facebook, Twitter or other social media accounts as their biggest time waster.Policy. Additionally, while some may argue that company policies and procedures can be considered a point of frustration and wasted time with workers, the survey found that only four percent of respondents considered it their biggest waste of time. In fact, when asked specifically about company policies, rules or procedures, some 44 percent said they actually helped increase productivity at least slightly.These and other results are from a new survey sponsored by TrackVia, makers of a cloud-based application platform that allows non-technical business people to build their own department applications or business software to do their work faster and easier.Additional survey findings around productive and unproductive use of time at work include: Better peer-to-peer communication: More than one-in-seven (15 percent) employees said they spent one to two hours per week addressing misunderstandings or miscommunications with co-workers. Another 7 percent said they spent three or more hours on this in a typical week. Leave politics to politicians: One-in-six (17 percent) said they spent one to two hours in a typical week navigating or dealing with office politics. Seven percent said they spent three to five hours, and another 7 percent estimated they spent six or more hours in a typical week dealing with office politics. Make meetings matter: Among those who spend time in meetings during a typical week, more than one-third (37 percent) felt at least half of the time in meetings was wasteful of their time. This is noteworthy as approximately one-in-five (21 percent) workers said they spent at least three hours in a typical week attending work meetings. Whether popular or unpopular, company procedures often work: In fact, one-in-nine (11 percent) said company rules or procedures greatly increased their productivity. Only two percent felt that they greatly reduced productivity.
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