From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

Too Much Time At Office Zaps Productivity, Study Says

A recent study of U.S. office workers by Xerox Corporation prescribed downtime as a potential solution for the waning attention spans of workers who are spending more than 9 to 5 at the office.

The survey, a joint effort of Xerox and Harris Interactive, centered on questions regarding the current self-assessed productivity of 450 office workers in the United States. According to the respondents’ remarks, nearly one-half of U.S. office workers logged nine- to 10-hours per day at work; however, the study also found that the workers only hit their peak production for about half of that time.

Seventy-four percent of the respondents blamed heavy workloads for their lack of productivity; other causes of productivity forfeiture included complicated work, unnecessary paperwork, excessive e-mail and other related technology issues.

The survey also indicated that relaxing activities, like kicking back in a hammock or lying in bed for example, could spawn more, and higher quality, innovative ideas than requisite morning office meetings, although brainstorming and collaboration were also repeatedly mentioned by respondents as ways of increasing quality and productivity.

“‘Today’s offices can be plagued with the same kind of productivity problems that used to be found on factory floors,'” said Dan Holtshouse, Director of Corporate Business Strategy for Xerox, in an August, 2002 company statement. “‘When you speed up the production line,'” said Holtshouse, “‘you put quality, customer satisfaction, and employee motivation at risk.'”

According to the survey, the average work day increased by one hour per employee over the past year, and workers at companies with more than 100 employees tended to work longer hours than those employed by smaller organizations. Additionally, 60 percent of the survey’s respondents claimed to do their best work before 11 a.m.

The survey was part of Xerox’s strategy to help companies improve work processes through technology and service.

Source: Xerox Canada