5 Tasks that Slow Productivity (and Solutions)

Cody McLain


If you’re anything like the average worker, you’re not perfectly efficient. Few people are. In fact, over 30% of workers report wasting at least an hour a day. Decreased productivity...

If you’re anything like the average worker, you’re not perfectly efficient. Few people are. In fact, over 30% of workers report wasting at least an hour a day.  Decreased productivity is another thing—from sitting in pointless meeting after meeting, to chatty co-workers. Insufficient back office support solutions further convolute the otherwise simple day-to-day operations.

Here are some time-saving strategies to the rescue:


Email is the preferred method of communication for most businesses. But thanks to mobile, email has become a disgusting time suck. According to Reuters, workers spend 6.3 hours a day checking email. Regulating email intake and output is complicated by our Pavlovian response to every cellular chime or buzz.

Here are a few quick email hacks to gaining some hours back in the day:

  • Clean up your email.
  • Subscribe to fewer lists.
  • Turn off or reduce phone notifications.
  • Target your emails appropriately.
  • Encourage others to only send relevant and necessary information.

What about email you actually want to receive? A recent Harvard study suggests that you get what you receive. So if you’re tired of wasting your time responding to emails, then try to send fewer  fewer emails (especially if you’re high up on the ladder).

Document Review:

It’s hard to quantify the amount of time spent sifting through twelve different revisions of the latest monthly report or meeting notes, but it’s effort wasted. Document and spreadsheet revisions and review.

So what is a good solution? Use the cloud. The cloud is your friend. Google Drive and Office 365 both include a cloud-based word processor and spreadsheet for simplified team review and revisions. SaaS solutions like Smartsheet is excellent for back office support teams. These back office solutions help your team to focus on their jobs, and waste less time trading revisions and solving technical issues.

Customer Support:

You love your customers. You need them to survive. But for many  small to mid-sized businesses, it can be difficult to keep a full time support staff on board. Often, businesses will delegate  back office support responsibilities among interns or other entry-level staff , or other functional areas. Whether you use live chat, email, or phone support, these intermittent-to-regular interruptions eat away at the workday.

Why not outsource? Give your employees a chance to work uninterrupted by outsourcing your live chat support. If you’re not already using live chat for customer support, get on it! Live chat is  a popular customer choice for quick support. Plus, it’s efficient. One support representative can handle 10-15 simultaneous chats (compare this to the necessary one-on-one of email or phone support).

To seriously increase productivity, transition your team to SupportNinja’s live chat team. SupportNinja’s live chat support is affordable enough for boot-strapped startups and large enough to handle heavy volume.

Rushing Your Day (Overworking?):

What do the most productive people in your organization look like? Harried and red-eyed after an all-nighter? Bustling from breakfast meeting to lunch meeting? Not likely—although these creatures do exist. The corporate workaholic typecast translates into true productivity for very few. In fact, increased workplace demands and longl days do more harm to productivity than help it.

Slow down, work less. This is easier said than done, but if you can control your schedule, then slowing your pace will pay off. Productivity tools like Todoist, Asana, and Google Calendar can help you stay on track and allow you to focus on one task at a time.


According to a Careerbuilder survey, 10% of workplace respondants said speakerphone use is a (major?) distraction. This is especially true in open concept offices and cubicles. It’s distracting enough to hear other people talking when you’re working. Hearing both sides of a conversation only compounds the distraction.

Do your coworkers a favor and use a headset. This one is simple—mostly because few appear to realize that speakerphone chatter hurts productivity. If your office has a free-for-all policy on speakerphone use, scrap it. This small change doesn’t cost much to implement, and means one less distraction for everybody in the office.
Boosting productivity doesn’t have to be a painful or expensive process. You don’t need more productivity meetings, more performance reviews, more analysis. You DO need to be aware of weak points in your daily processes. From back office outsourcing to simply cutting down on the chatter, greater productivity is possible. Get to it!