Procrastination in the workplace is a real productivity killer and morale deflator. Since things are left to the last minute, they’re often done sloppily if they’re done at all. And when they’re not done, it adds the procrastinator’s workload to others, pushes timelines and creates resentment.
So how do you know if it’s affecting your operation?
Your employees – Common signs of procrastination in the workplace:
- Constantly making excuses. You find people continuously making excuses for not accomplishing their tasks throughout the day.
- Taking several breaks. People who are avoiding tasks tend to take a lot of breaks or longer lunches so they don’t have to complete their tasks.
- Slower responses. Emails, phone calls, communications regarding tasks and projects aren’t answered in a timely manner and sometimes go unanswered.
- Mood changes. Avoiding tasks creates higher levels of stress and anxiety. And unfinished tasks that keep accumulating create a sense frustration and a growing fear of never being able to catch up.
Why do people procrastinate?
You may never be able to completely eliminate workplace procrastination from your company. But knowing the reasons behind it may help identify possible solutions. And keeping in mind which employees are procrastinators and knowing their triggers will guide you in assigning tasks and projects accordingly.
The rush of adrenaline
Some employees love “feeling on the edge.” They like the thrill of accomplishing a goal and cutting it close, so they put things off to get their blood pumping.
Avoiding a situation out of fear of something
These employees are afraid they’ll disappoint co-workers or the boss with sub-par results so they avoid working on a project.
Taking responsibility for making a decision
Some workers just want to avoid making a decision entirely because then they’ll have to take responsibility for whichever option they choose.
Putting a Stop to Procrastination in the Workplace
Once you’ve identified the issue, positive communication and solid changes are the key to increased productivity in your operation. Talk to your employees and find out what’s going on. Do they have too much on their plate? Might they need help prioritizing? Do they feel they’re not up to the task? Or are they just afraid of letting you down?
Whatever the case is, here are some ways to positively address the issue:
- Assign tasks in a simple and straightforward manner. Break difficult work into small chunks. This helps pace a task and eliminates the sense of overwhelm.
- Set realistic timelines – together. People tend to follow timelines/deadlines they agree with and helped create.
- Create structure. Procrastinators need structure in their day to help them stay on task.
- Positive feedback. Genuine recognition for completing tasks motivates people to accomplish more goals, builds their self-confidence and creates a positive feedback loop.
Helping a member of your team break the habit of procrastination is a smart investment in your company’s productivity.
Can you identify a valuable member of your organization that needs your help in ending procrastination?
To Your Growth & Profits
William De Temple, CEO Antirion LLC
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