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Kiwis still wasting working hours - survey

Published: 9:28AM Monday December 10, 2012 Source: ONE News

Wasteful activity in the workplace has dropped 2%, but Kiwis are still wasting more than an hour each working day, according to a survey.

The Ernst & Young New Zealand Productivity Pulse survey asked 750 workers about their perceptions of productivity in their workplace.

Results showed that of time spent at work, 13% is attributed to wasteful activity - down from 15% six months ago. The cost of time-wasting for New Zealand organisations has also dropped, from $19 billion each year to $17 billion.

The survey found on average, one hour and nine minutes is wasted each day. Respondents said 26% of this, or 19 minutes, was time spent waiting for other people and producing work which isn't used, compared to just four minutes, or 6%, wasted on social media sites.

Sending and replying to email, taking care of personal matters and IT issues were among other major time wasters.

'Lost souls', or the least productive workers, waste nearly a quarter of their day, says the survey, and although they make up only 5% of the workforce, account for more than 20% of time wasted across the working day.

Ernst & Young advisor Braden Dickson said there needed to be intelligent debate around productivity and output and how these things are managed.

"Often we find people are very busy - they're flat out. We're increasing overtime, we're bringing in extra workers but the output isn't there. Things are not being organised properly. Organisations are not getting the efficiencies they should be from the workforces they have got."

The survey showed workers are more productive when instructions and expectations are well-communicated, but only half of the respondents said their organisation communicated about productivity well.

Management need to make it clear to workers what their expectations are, said Dickson.

"It's about good supervisors organising the work well, making sure that the tasks are well allocated and people know what they're doing. We have a shortage of these sorts of people," he said.