Office productivity problems and their solutions

  • By: Sam Shaw
  • Date: September 1, 2021
  • Time to read: 16 min.

Are you having a tough time staying productive at work? Is your inbox overflowing and your to-do list never getting any shorter? It’s not just you. There are many Americans struggling with the same issue.

In the modern workplace, your productivity is key to success. You may not think that you have time for a blog post about how to be more productive at work, but if you don’t take care of yourself then nobody else will. As a result, we’ve compiled some strategies and solutions for common office problems.

Read on to find out how you can improve your office productivity while getting more accomplished in less time! 

25 office productivity killers and how to beat them!

There are numerous causes of why you feel less motivated at work. While some of them are really simple to deal with, the majority are a bit more complicated than that. Try to find out what you can do about it and how you may turn your life around!

1. Noisy workplace

We all know that noise distraction is one of the most common causes why people feel less productive at work.

What can I do?

Even though it seems obvious, giving everybody in your office a pair of headphones will make a huge difference! Yet an even better solution would be to turn off unnecessary equipment or use some white noise (just search for some online).

2. Poor lights

Are you feeling tired and less focused at work? It’s not your fault! Probably, it’s because your workplace doesn’t have good quality lights or enough light sources. Although you don’t need to have hundreds of bulbs, they should be as much as possible!

What can I do?

The quality of light has a tremendous impact on our productivity. Thus, it’s worth checking if your office space has enough natural light and how many lamps you should have to feel good in there. Adjust the lights at your will!

3. Mobile distraction

Are you feeling distracted because of other people receiving calls or texting all day long? It’s just natural. We’ve all been there! What about when somebody is constantly calling you and leaving you with no peace? This situation may be even more disturbing and frustrating than any email notification…

The most important thing here is that you shouldn’t neglect this interruption issue as it is really harmful to your mental health and office-time productivity.

What can I do?

Simply put your cellphone on airplane mode and if you are the head of the workplace, ask other employees to do the same. Additionally, you can also get some phone-jamming devices if the situation gets unbearable for you!

4. Overworking and overtime

We all have our limits. The thing is that it’s really easy to work constantly throughout the day and find yourself getting tired towards the evening. It just doesn’t seem natural and healthy that your mind is working in this state.

This is why people often complain about not being able to be productive at night after having a long working day.

What can I do?

Take a break every hour during your workday (and not only an office-coffee one)! You may use this time either for stretching or walking around the workplace or simply taking a breath of fresh air outside. Both of these things will make

5. Unclear goals

If you don’t know what you’re supposed to do each day or how exactly will you be evaluated by your boss, it will lead to frustration sooner than later. The easiest way to overcome this is to ask for feedback from your superior.

Unclear goals can lead to an unproductive day at the office.
Unclear goals can lead to an unproductive day at the office.

What can I do?

You should let your boss know that you’re willing to take on more responsibilities and make sure that he lets you know what exactly you need to be doing. If this doesn’t work, try seeking help from senior employees,

6. Lack of motivation

In most cases, money is not an issue for office employees. The problem is that they don’t have the necessary inspiration to do their job well. What can I say? This is really something natural as we all are different people with different goals in life!

What can I do?

Try opening up a motivational social-media page for yourself and post everything about your work there! It will refresh your mood and help you find the right motivation so as to get started again!

7. Lack of breaks & unhealthy diet

If you’re not taking care of yourself at work (for instance, if you’re not having a lunch break for hours), it will have a serious impact on your productivity.

What can I do?

Your workday shouldn’t take more than 8 hours – that’s the optimum amount of time you need to be focused and productive (and healthy). If you’re eating unhealthy food, it will definitely affect your mental fatigue as well.

Try to eat regularly throughout the day and make sure that you’ll get one hour each day for having a proper meal. It is important to focus on physical activity in order to feel good about yourself during office hours!

8. Office relationships

Well, nothing says ‘I love you’ like co-workers that are willing to disagree with you about something without turning sour. The key thing here is to avoid conflict and to be polite to everyone you work with.

What can I do?

Try having a common ground for all of your co-workers and you’ll see how they will start taking care of each other! Also, this is not something big, but try avoiding all kinds of gossip as it will hurt not only your but also your colleague’s productivity.

9. Monotonous environment

Your environment at work should be as interesting as possible because we spend hours upon hours in our offices every day! If the workplace walls are too dark or too plain, you would feel exhausted all day.

What can I do?

You could put some pictures on the wall that show some memories with friends and family, you could hang up motivational quotations or simply change the color of your room by adding some plants (real ones if you are able to). Above all, frame your life achievements and hang them on the wall so that you can appreciate yourself.

10. Fatigue

Another factor that leads to office fatigue is your work seat. If you’re not comfortable in it, you will feel tired all day long!

What can I do?

Make sure you exercise your body properly in order to stay healthy and fit. A good solution would be to change your working place every so often as it will help you avoid problems with the back, shoulders or neck!

So, now that you know the main office productivity killers, there is only one thing left for you to do.

Fatigue can hurt your office productivity.
Fatigue can hurt your office productivity.

11. Lack of challenges at work 

If you don’t have enough time to learn new things or if there’s nothing challenging, you will end up feeling frustrated.

What can I do?

Don’t think of switching your job. First off, look for interesting projects. Ask your boss to give you more responsibilities. If this doesn’t work, talk with him about challenging projects you can take on!

12. Lack of ventilation

Poor air quality may also lead to reduced mental performance, increased fatigue, and headaches. Many people suffer from low blood pressure due to a lack of ventilation in the room.

What can I do?

If this is the case for your work environment, get some plants around, or even better install some purifiers. If you work in an enclosed room, keep the door open and arrange at least one window. Your lungs and mind will be grateful to you for it!

13. Uncomfortable chairs

Your productivity is the highest when you are in a good mood. This is why your office chairs should maximize your comfort.

What can I do?

If you work in an open-space office,  arrange a comfortable sofa or chair where you can rest and relax. Don’t shy away from changing your working chair! Sit on a ball or a stool as often as possible – even if you hate it at first, try getting used to it!

14. Desk of the wrong size

If you use a desk that is too low or too high for your body, it will affect your concentration and productivity.

What can I do?

Use a standing workstation if applicable. If this isn’t an option, adjust the height of your working desk to make sure you’re comfortable while performing tasks. Also, don’t forget to stretch your back every once in a while! ( Make sure there’s enough space around you !)

15. Emotional distress

If you suffer from emotional problems, it will surely affect your productivity. You might feel tired all day long or have difficulties concentrating on the tasks at hand.

What can I do?

Be honest with yourself and find out if there are some issues bothering you – like a family problem or financial struggles for example! If this is the case, go talk to someone who has more experience than you in dealing with such things (a relative, a friend, or a professional counselor).

Don’t try solving everything by yourself as it won’t work!

16. Lack of sleep

This one might come as a surprise for many, but lack of sleep affects your cognitive skills very much. People who suffer from severe forms of insomnia can’t concentrate properly which affects their productivity.

What can I do?

Don’t cross the line between work and rest! Avoid staying up late as it’s not worth it. Sleep enough (7 to 9 hours are recommended) and prioritize tasks that don’t require too much thinking, like some light housework. Also, if possible, try recharging in a nap during the day!

17. Work-life imbalance

Work-life balance is important for your health and well-being at work. At times, people spend more hours work than they spend with their families. If you are one of those people, do yourself a favor and start spending a good amount of time at home.

What can I do?

Make sure you don’t put too much pressure on yourself or your co-workers by taking breaks every once in a while. Don’t forget about your non-working life as this might prevent you from focusing on what really matters – achieving goals and accomplishing things!

18. Uncomfortable clothing

Yes, you read it right. The clothes you wear impact your productivity at work!

Even if you feel comfortable, wearing uncomfortable clothing can affect your mood and productivity as well.

What can I do?

Try wearing clothes that are easy to wear and don’t forget about those who might get hot easily! If the office is too cold for you, keep an extra shirt at work so that you can change in case you feel too cold.

19. Slow devices

If you use old devices and they can’t handle multiple tasks,  it will surely affect your productivity.

What can I do?  

Try updating your computer or phone if possible as it will give you access to new features that might make work easier for you! Another tip is to always shut down your system after you are done. Also, consider getting a tablet – some might find them very useful when working.

20. Hunger

Well, you can’t do anything when you’re hungry, even if it’s your work! So make sure you always have something to eat at work.

What can I do?

Keep some snacks and drinks (healthy ones!) to fuel your body and brain in case you feel hungry!

If possible, talk with your co-workers about this in order to find some common ground between all of you – most probably there will be someone who’ll like the same kind of food as you do so there won’t be any problems!

21. Lack of proper training

It is not enough to simply receive instructions on how to do a certain task. If things are going the way you want them to be, it’s not only your fault. It is crucial for you to receive a thorough knowledge of all aspects of your work so that you can improve job performance in the future.

What can I do?

If you feel like you need more training, ask your manager about it. It would be a great idea to get some extra classes or workshops so that you can become better at what you do. If your manager isn’t cooperating with you, ask the higher authorities. And if nothing works, don’t underestimate the power of MOOCs.

22. Unsuitable working schedule

Do you work better in the morning or in the evening? Do you need a lot of time to get ready for work and concentrate on your tasks, or do you have no problems with it at all? Think about how suitable your schedule is for you.

What can I do?

If possible, match your working hours with your personal preferences. Some people simply can’t concentrate properly when they’re tired – so make sure that this won’t happen to you!

Start by changing some small things such as moving lunch break to a time where you’ll feel much better and more energized. In case nothing works, try talking with your manager about moving some parts of the day around.

23. Disorganization

If you have a messy desk and you find it hard to concentrate on your work, don’t be surprised! It is very obvious that your brain works the same way as the arrangement of items on your desk.

What can I do?

Try keeping everything organized as this will help you focus better on the task at hand. Clean up your desk in case there are too many things lying around.

Of course, if you’re able to keep things clean all the time, well done – but don’t forget that for some people it might be quite hard!

24. Job insecurity

It is great if you feel like you’re part of the team but sometimes managers don’t share the good news with their employees in fear of losing them (even though we hope they won’t). When this happens, it can result in lower productivity levels and low morale.

What can I do?

If you feel like your lack of motivation is caused by job insecurity, talk with your manager. He/she might be able to give you some updates or even more important – a feeling of security. If this doesn’t work, well… the best option would be probably looking for other opportunities.

25. Poor communication

The most commonly noticed issue with employees all over the world is assuming things that their co-workers or bosses never said. Yes, it sounds a bit funny but poor communication/lack of communication results in creating issues at work.

What can I do?

Make sure you listen to the instructions given so that you won’t have any issues understanding or completing them.

Also, let them know that you’re willing to communicate with them – most probably they won’t even realize you feel this way so they’ll be more than happy about it!

If something isn’t clear, always ask! And try keeping an open mind – some employees might not be aware of the other things that are going on around them which means they don’t always mean to offend people with their words but it just happens.

How should I stay motivated when nothing is in favor?

1. Give yourself rewards

Dot worry, we all suffer from this issue. At times, it feels like nothing is working in your favor, but you know who wins the battle? The one who keeps moving. Even though you might not be able to do anything about your problems, you can always try and make yourself feel better.

Make a list of things you like doing and reward yourself with something tasty or enjoyable for every problem solved!

And if this doesn’t work… well, we got another tip to share with you!

2. Talk it out

If there’s no way out, nothing will change unless you do something about it. What is great about this is that it’s free and easy to use – you don’t have to go shopping or put on any make-up in order to be seen at some place talking with friends! You just need someone who’ll lend an ear – so ask one of your friends to have a chat.

Sometimes, you just need to talk it out – that’s all!

3. Stop procrastinating

Don’t overthink, and stop procrastinating! Our best advice is to take a piece of paper and write down everything that’s bothering you. Do it for 15 minutes and then stop.

Think about what you wrote, try to solve even the smallest issues like procrastination itself which is one of the biggest problems people have in our age (it really is!).

Realize that there are some problems modern workers face and some of them can easily be avoided. If you practice smart ways of solving them, things won’t be as bad anymore!

4. Practice gratitude

This technique is pretty much like a reminder of how good we actually have it! We’re not saying that life is always great and everything falls into the place, but at least there are some benefits of living in our times.

Start by writing down 5 things you’re grateful for – they can be anything starting from your favorite food to family members or even pet (we won’t judge!). Once you’ve finished, read everything out loud and you’ll feel better instantly! Do this right after waking up in the morning – even before breakfast.

Related questions

How should I be productive working from home during COVID?

This is, undoubtedly, the most common issue people have when working remotely.

In order to remain focused and active while working from home, it is important to do daily exercise, breathe fresh air, wake up early in the morning, and read motivational books.

Just make sure to keep trying and you’ll get used to working this way!

How to know what my boss expects from me?

That’s a very important one. Try to contact those who have been doing the job before you – they will know more than you.

If you can’t find anyone, feel free to contact your manager directly.

Bosses usually have an idea of what they expect from their employees but don’t always take the time to make it clear to everyone working for them!

How should I deal with workplace/ office harassment?

If you are being harassed at work there are a number of options available to you.

First, recognize that it is not your fault and the perpetrator is the one to blame – they might be an individual or more often the problem comes from within the organization itself.

The main thing is to know what kind of harassment you’re facing because that will guide your next steps. Is it bullying? A hostile workplace?  Report it right away!

Dense seating annoys me, what should I do?

Honestly, there is nothing to worry about. Dense seating, small offices, and crowded meeting rooms are the norms in today’s world! You should just accept it since forcing yourself to feel comfortable would only bring you some additional stress.

Instead, try to focus on how lucky you are for being offered a job at all and for not having to be unemployed. This will help you forget your woes.

If this doesn’t help, request the company to at least arrange a seat for you near a window.

How should I behave at work?

How should I behave with co-workers? This question is frequently asked by employees who work among people of different cultures.

First, start by evaluating how important is it for you to have good co-worker relationships.

Depending on your answer, there are two directions: – If you want better connections with people around you and them to seem not interested in that, be firm about it! Set some friendly rules and take the appropriate measures if someone breaks them.

Be honest but not too harsh while talking with them. This should do the trick! – Now if after your best efforts things still don’t work out or no one seems to care much about establishing a friendly atmosphere at work, just don’t try to push yourself. Leave people the way they are.

How should I make up for a loss?

It depends on the type of loss you’ve made. If you have broken a vase or door latch, accept your mistake and apologize right away! But if you forgot to submit a project on the due date, make sure to submit it as soon as possible.

What’s more, try not to overthink about the negative outcome and instead remind yourself of what you’ve done right – like working on a project or supporting your family. This way you’ll regain self-confidence and stop feeling so bad.

How should I approach an elder colleague?

You don’t have to worry if there is an age difference between your co-worker and you since they are aware that this occurs at times in the modern workplace! As long as they don’t look offended or annoyed by your questions or actions, everything will probably be just fine. After all, work is work!

How to know my weak areas?

The answer is simple: every time you submit a project, request your boss to give feedback. After receiving the feedbacks, make an error log and save all your mistakes so that you can remind yourself not to repeat them.

Also, make sure to organize your thoughts before the next meeting and present yourself in a way that will show you’re capable of doing more than what you’ve done so far.

How should I dress for work?

It’s really important how you present yourself since this is one of the first things people notice about you!

First, decide if the company or organization has some kind of specific code of dressing (this depends on their industry). If not, ask around and find out what most employees wear. If they look decent, copy them! You’ll be much more confident during presentations this way which will bring a good result eventually.

Conclusion

As you see, there are many ways in which you can significantly improve your office-time productivity and start being more successful at work!

Remember that it is always better to solve problems on the spot than to ignore them and let them affect you in the long run! Keep your eyes on the little things.

Because when the going gets tough, the tough get going!

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