We’ve all done it before—wasted time on the job.  Somehow we end up focusing too much on ourselves, our coworkers, or absolutely nothing at all, becoming less productive and less present in the process.

What we fail to remember as business owners, though, is that time is money, and stealing time from the office is just as bad as stealing a stack of printer paper or a box of pens. You need to reassert the value of time to your employees and put your best effort forward in minimizing workplace time-wasters.

Instant Messaging

Most modern offices are connected via email, file-sharing, and instant messaging. And while this convenient platforms of communication save time, it can easily be used for personal reasons—turning it from a time-saver into a serious time-waster. If this type of inter-office communication is a problem for your staff, you should create a messaging policy that directly states that instant messages should be work-related and should only be between clients, employees, and vendors (which can be monitored).

Personal Communication

Our lives are online, keeping everything and everyone readily available throughout the day. From social media and email to texting and phone calls—connected devices are just begging to be tapped into for personal use. If blocking certain websites might be a morale killer (which it can be), then you can create general web policies and proactively monitor which sites are being visited.  If you notice your staff can’t abide by general web policies, then maybe it’s time for a morale killer.

Drive-By Conversation

Whether you have an open-concept office space or classic cubicles, employees probably have free reign to visit each other or make conversation on their way to the water cooler. This drive-by time-waster is distracting. Even if it’s just for a few minutes every hour or so, the time it takes to get back into the zone is wasteful, as well. You don’t want to discourage office friendliness or open communication.  Instead, keep those in leadership roles more visible during the workday.  This will only discourage unproductive communication.