Some studies claim that “internet misuse” costs U.S. companies more than $178 billion annually in lost worker productivity. But this calculation is as disturbing as it is inaccurate. What many business leaders may consider wasted time may actually lead to a more refreshed, enthusiastic work environment.
Going back to the mid-1920s to the time of Henry Ford, companies have cut back on the days they work, and the hours expected out of each employee. Ford, for example, reduced the work week from six days to five, and 48 hours to 40.
In today’s work environment, mental health and work burnout are incredibly important factors that weigh on a manager’s mind. Francine Lederer, a clinical psychologist in Los Angeles who specializes in stress and relationship management, told ABC in an interview that, “The impact that taking a vacation has on one's mental health is profound. Most people have better life perspective and are more motivated to achieve their goals after a vacation, even if it is a 24-hour time-out." Motivation leads to productivity, productivity leads to satisfied customers, and satisfied customers lead to a better Worker Experience.
Many workers use their time off to recharge and regroup, but also for professional development and creative pursuits. Elizabeth Friedland, APR (Accredited in Public Relations) is the Senior Director of Corporate Communications at Appirio, and knows about the hustle and bustle of a busy work environment.
Overseeing all of an institution’s communications efforts can be very busy and time intensive. However, Elizabeth copes and unwinds in her time off. “I like to use a good chunk of my downtime to read,” says Friedland. “Not only do I find it fun and relaxing, but I almost always can pull a nugget of information from what I'm reading — even if it's escapist fiction — into a project at work. It's a great way to unwind and recharge while also tapping into the creativity of other writers.”
Most businesses traditionally expect every full-time employee to put in eight hours of work a day. Yet, reports show that 64 percent of workers visit non-work related websites everyday. Why is that? Forbes found there are five different reasons people waste time at work: “1) they don’t feel challenged enough in their job, 2) they work too many hours, 3) the company doesn't give sufficient incentive to work harder, 4) they are unsatisfied with their career, and 5) they're just bored.”
Understanding and empowering your workers, and striving to improve their experience is a key strategy to solving burnout and increasing productivity. Check out our eBook — The Productivity Prescription — to learn more about promoting a more productive workforce, and for some strategies you can implement to help shape the way your company works.