We’ve all worked remotely for so long that it’s not surprising that some of us are apprehensive about the idea of going back into the office. It may not be the thought of tackling the daily commute, or the crowded trains and buses – although these are things we certainly haven’t missed. It’s the worry about having to do extra hours, just to get the same level of work done because of interruptions from our colleagues, who may just be one of the follow six personas that can affect productivity in the workplace.
We all like to imagine we have an easy-going personality and can get along with anyone.
However, working in a busy office can be tough, especially with all the different personas. Before the clock even hits 9am you can be faced with Gossip Girl hanging around the water cooler, Moaning Myrtle leaning on your desk and The Complainer asking you to wipe down the microwave after you use it.
Even though this blend of personalities can still mean a company is successful at what it does, there are those people that can hamper productivity. Here we have put together a list of the six top personas for destroying productivity – and tips on how to deal with them.
1) The Meeting Maniac
Most likely to be found saying: “I’ve booked a meeting room to discuss if we should have a meeting about our next meeting.”
Characteristics: You will rarely see them at their desk. For them, eight hours of back-to-back meetings is an enjoyable way to spend the day and it gives them an excuse not to answer your emails or calls.
How to combat them: If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Being in too many meetings can quash your productivity, but sometimes you need a meeting to get things done. Get into a room with this persona and you have them at your mercy – go armed with all your questions, and papers to be signed off.
2) The Small Talker
Most likely to be found saying: “What’s the weather like? What did you watch on TV last night? What are you up to at the weekend? How are the kids? How is your mother?”
Characteristics: They will do anything to not work. They ask question after question until you realise you have spent an hour involved in small talk and not got any work done. They can discuss any topic that springs to mind, at length.
How to combat them: While small talk is often good for cementing work relationships, it can also be damaging for your productivity. Put your foot down. Say to them “I really need to get on – this has to be finished in the next hour.” If you are desperate then get a pair of headphones.
3) The Quiet One
Most likely to be found saying: Nothing. And they are so quiet that you start to wonder if they really do exist.
Characteristics: They never respond to your emails or phone calls. You can put IMPORTANT in the subject line as many times as you want, and they still won’t respond. They are focussed on their own productivity and yet disregard the fact that everyone else needs to get on with their work.
How to combat them: Good old fashioned face-to-face meetings. Some people don’t respond well to emails and phone calls and so the best thing to do is get away from your desk for ten minutes to knock on their office door. If you think they may glare at you, offer to make them a cuppa and then ask them if they could respond to your email.
4) The Email Over loader
Most likely to be found saying: “Did you get my email? No, not the one I sent at 9am, or the one at 9.10am – scroll to my tenth email sent at 9.45am.”
Characteristics: This person fills your inbox with unimportant emails. Whether it’s a document relevant to only a few people in the office, or a hilariously cute photo of their dog, they just love sending emails.
How to combat them: It seems the more time we spend on emails the lower we perceive our productivity to be. Keep your replies short and simple – and don’t feel like you must respond to every email. Also, try not to reply with a question as it only provokes another email. Lead by example and don’t flood other people’s inboxes.
5) The Delegator
Most likely to be found saying: “After you’ve done that report I asked you to do, can you fill out this Excel spreadsheet and then email all of the people on it.”
Characteristics: Their walk through the office is like a drive-by shooting as they fling folders onto desks and hand out demanding deadlines. This person constantly delegates work to other people and then never actually does any work themselves. They see themselves as having good time management skills.
How to combat them: Learn to say no. It can be hard to say no to the boss but being productive is about making sure the right things are done and that you stick to your goals. If you are handed some work that will take you away from your priorities, then tell them you haven’t got time.
If you explain why then they should understand.
6) The Messy Desk Dude
Most likely to be found saying: “Now where is that jam sandwich? I only put it down a minute ago – ah, there it is stuck to the bottom of my notepad.”
Characteristics: Paperwork is strewn across their desk and they have already lost the report you gave them 20 minutes ago. They have no idea what a to-do list is, and they have never seen a filing cabinet.
How to combat them: Try to email them any important documents, and if you need to hand them paperwork, have a copy ready to give them for when they lose the original. If their mess is drifting over to your desk then have a polite word with them, or ask the boss if you can have fortnightly tidy-ups.
At PCS we have championed flexible working for a number of years, because we believe that happy workers are more productive. Giving employees the freedom to create their own schedule, that fits in around other commitments, reduces stress and allows them to focus on work. This is why our software solutions are created to allow different teams across your company to work any time, anywhere. So, if an employee finds they can focus better on a project at home or they need more flexibility, then we ensure you have the technology to make this happen.