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February 24, 2017
Culture  |  5 min read

4 Surprising Things that May Actually be Slowing You Down at Work

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John Rampton

Are you moving slower at work than you have in the past? Do you feel like you’re working just as hard to produce the same output? It’s possible that you’re using outdated strategies and ineffective techniques to accomplish tasks that could otherwise be streamlined through strategic modernization.

Are any of these culprits to blame?

If you feel like you aren’t getting the same results that you once did, it’s time to carefully consider the underlying cause(s) of your diminishing returns. While there are hundreds of possible culprits, the following are pretty common in workplaces around the world.

Poor office ergonomics

You may think that office ergonomics is just some buzzword used by furniture and equipment suppliers who want to pad their bottom lines, but the reality is that issues in this area can have a tremendous impact on productivity.

According to one research study, an insurance company saw a $620,000 improvement in productivity from an investment in $500,000 worth of ergonomic furnishings. Within just two months of moving into an open office concept, 60 percent of employees believed that productivity was higher. Roughly 90 percent of the company’s 200 decision makers felt that better office design directly correlated to improved productivity.

These may seem like minor issues, but things like poor back support, cramped spaces, lack of elbow support, harsh lighting, and other factors could be slowing you down. By fixing these issues, you may see a direct uptick in output.

Complex approval processes

Few things are more frustrating than getting decisions made in a timely manner. Approval processes can often be unnecessarily complex, and it can take days or weeks to get green-lighted on something super simple. Sound familiar?

One example of this is the time-intensive nature of getting approval documents signed. You have to print off a document, get someone to sign it, scan the document, email it to the next person, and repeat the process until everyone has given approval. How inefficient is this? By opting for electronic signatures instead, you can make sure everything happens much smoother. Little things like this can make a big difference.

Excessive multitasking

The average professional in today’s work environment assumes they’re proficient at multitasking. After all, you can probably talk on the phone, read an email, eat a snack, and take notes at the same time. But the question is, are you actually being more productive by multitasking?

According to research conducted at Stanford University, multitasking is far less productive than doing a single thing. Furthermore, the long-term effects of multitasking are poor information recall, lack of focus, and a lower overall IQ.

Poor lunch diet

Did you know that something seemingly as innocuous as what you eat for lunch probably impacts your productivity back at the office? This is especially true if you’re grabbing fast food on a regular basis.

“Foods affect your memory and your ability to focus, think clearly, and relax,” nutrition expert Rene Ficek says. “Fast food consumption can cause an array of mental effects, ranging from depression to hyperactivity. It's not just one ingredient at fault, either. Fast food meals contain a toxic mixture of unhealthy fats, preservatives, coloring, and refined carbohydrates that can create imbalances in your brain.”

In other words, improve your lunch diet and you can expect better focus at work. This is one of the more tangible ways you can enhance productivity with minimal effort.

Resolve issues and improve productivity

If you want to reclaim your productivity and avoid additional issues down the road, it’s imperative that you resolve issues like these as soon as possible. Don’t just gloss over them and hope they’ll disappear. You need to tackle them head-on and implement strategies for becoming more efficient. When handled properly, the results can be transformational.

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John Rampton Bio Photo Small.jpeg

John Rampton is an entrepreneur, investor, online marketing guru and startup enthusiast. He is founder of the payments company Due.

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