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The Effects of an Unproductive Workplace

by Ralph Heibutzki

One of the key ingredients in any business's growth is a workforce committed to its success. A company's survival is jeopardized once that focus dissipates, whether it occurs through lack of long-term planning, poor communication or an unwillingness to discipline. Left to their devices in such an atmosphere, workers grow unwilling to do their best. Productivity and customer satisfaction also decline, forcing corporate leaders to take drastic steps to restore the company's position.

Distracted Employees

Distractions from handheld electronic devices and social networking sites cost employers about $650 billion per year, "Business News Daily" reports. Balancing technological convenience against its abuse creates challenges for employers, who can't expect productivity from an unfocused staff. Employees also acknowledge the issue as a problem. One in four employees surveyed by the Workplace Options firm knew of someone who'd been fired for wasting time or creating distractions.

Declining Morale

Employees lose confidence in company management when they see little chance for professional growth. The outcome is a decline in morale, which is a telltale sign of unproductive workplaces, according to an analysis posted on the Roberts Wesleyan College website. Company managers often make matters worse through poor communication or failing to empower staff to carry out the organization's goals. Instead of striving for excellence, workers focus on getting through the day.

Employee Absenteeism

As organizational cohesion crumbles, the temptation to take unscheduled time off also grows. Employees create partial shift absences by arriving late, leaving early, or taking longer breaks and lunches than allowed. Workers also claim personal, sick or vacation time, but don't report it. Companies absorb higher payroll costs by having to get contract workers, temporary staff or get better-paid employees within the organization to cover the absences.

High Turnover

Unproductive workplaces create stress for employees wanting to do a good job. As your employer struggles to regain footing, you may be required to work longer hours or give up time off to complete additional projects. The resulting stress may convince you to quit, especially if you see less motivated co-workers not making similar sacrifices. Sometimes, this dynamic arises from other issues. For example, workplaces with higher absenteeism levels experience 10.6 percent turnover rates, notes The Workforce Institute.

Organizational Drift

You expect supervisors to give guidance about priorities. However, organizations can drift when managers don't communicate a company's priorities clearly, as a 2006 survey done by Proudfoot Corporation suggests. Of more than 800 U.S. executives surveyed, 50 percent identified inefficient management and planning as their chief obstacle, and more than 25 percent hadn't set goals for improving productivity. Without such measurements, conflict is more likely to occur and your confidence in management will also decline.

About the Author

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