Smart gadgets blur working hard with hardly working

Ensuring employees are challenged in their role will go a long way to help reduce feelings of dissatisfaction. Photo / Thinkstock
Ensuring employees are challenged in their role will go a long way to help reduce feelings of dissatisfaction. Photo / Thinkstock

It is rare to see anyone who is not using a smart device. In fact, a poll by Horizon found nearly 50 per cent of NZ adults own a smartphone - an increase of 14 per cent since 2012.

Having tablets and smartphones at our fingertips all the time has made it incredibly efficient when you want to look up the meaning of a word, map your journey or watch YouTube while travelling on public transport. However, has this efficiency also meant that the temptation to do personal tasks during work hours has increased to a point where work productivity is negatively affected?

According to a survey administered by Salary.com in 2012, 64 per cent of those surveyed admitted to checking non-work-related websites every day during work hours. Fifty per cent of those who surf the web for personal use indicate they spend between one and five hours doing this. This means some people spend almost half their work day doing non-work-related tasks, which would definitely have an impact on productivity and efficiency.

So why are people doing this? And, how can it be stopped?

The main reasons people gave for why they spend so much time on the web were around not feeling challenged or satisfied with their job, being bored at work and having no incentive to work harder. Results from the Kenexa Best Workplaces Survey 2012 show that nearly one in three employees feel their work does not make full use of their knowledge and skills and that their contribution is not valued by the organisation.

This suggests that there are people in the workforce who do not feel challenged, satisfied or valued and could potentially be among those who waste time at work.

How can we go about reducing this behaviour?

Ensuring employees are challenged in their role will go a long way to help reduce feelings of dissatisfaction with their job and should motivate people to want to put in extra effort to get the job done.

But perhaps companies should rethink their stance on this matter and encourage employees to adopt a "work-life blend" approach. So rather than having fixed hours they must spend at their desks, employees choose when during the day they will get their work done.

Rudy Karsan, CEO of Kenexa says, "Younger workers are tending to say 'I'm working at my desk, then I'll get distracted by doing personal things, then I'll come back to my job'. Back and forth. When we start doing this, we really begin to blend our work and personal lives together and I applaud it. I hope we never lose that because that is what's natural to us."


For more information please contact Tess O'Rourke-Ng and the team at Kenexa, an IBM company: nz-info@kenexa.com or (09) 378 2003.

- NZ Herald

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