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Wasted time on the job can put a dent in your facility’s wallet

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Employees in the healthcare industry waste 1.8 hours every day, according to a July America Online and survey. Believe it or not, that's less than the U.S. average of two hours of wasted time at work per employee, per day.

But whether it's two hours or 20 minutes, this time costs employers billions of dollars annually.

To put an end to this, you need to know what your staff waste their time on and why. Responses to the survey show that employees waste their time

  1. surfing the Internet (44.7%)
  2. socializing with coworkers (23.4%)
  3. conducting personal business (6.8%)
  4. spacing out (3.9%)
  5. running errands off-premises (3.1%)

Why? Mainly because they don't have enough work to do (33.2%), they feel underpaid for the amount of work required of them (23.4%), their coworkers distract them (14.7%), or they feel that they don't have enough free time during the weekends or evenings (12%), according to the survey.

Four tips to manage a hectic day

A close review of the time-management logs may reveal where staff waste time (e.g., making three trips to a nearby coffee shop for a latte, instead of one). To curb their-or even your own-unnecessary wasting of time, try following the advice of Pam Vaccaro, MA, CSP, president of the St. Louis-based consulting firm Designs on Time. To cope with hectic schedules, she says, it's best to:

  1. Find the most productive time of day. Few people know how to capitalize on their "best time of day"-the three-to-four-hour period during which they're the most mentally and physically alert, Vaccaro says.
  2. Capitalize on snippets of time. Most people rarely have blocks of time during which to accomplish tasks, but they do get occasional "snippets of time," which Vaccaro identifies as seven-to-nine-minute segments.
  3. Get adequate rest and take breaks. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation and fatigue have negative effects.
  4. Manage technology. In today's increasingly high-tech world, people must learn to manage all forms of technology. And technology itself does not necessarily help people automatically. In fact, Vaccaro says she thinks it can make inefficient people "inefficient faster."

Editor's note: This excerpt was adapted from The Doctor's Office, November 2006, HCPro, Inc.