Coworkers and cubicle Employeeson average say they are interrupted an average of 13.9 times perday. (Photo: Shutterstock)

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Busy work is getting in the way of…work, according toWorkfront's sixth annual State of Work report.

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Workfront surveyed 3,750 professionals across the U.S., U.K.,the Netherlands and Germany, and found that just 43 percent spendtheir workweek on the jobs they were hired to do.

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"The number one culprit? Wasteful meetings," the authors write."And based on our qualitative review of thousands of companies andteams, the central driver of wasteful meetings is poor mechanismsfor strategic alignment, work planning and work statuscommunication."

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Related: 5 employee productivity challenges (and how toovercome them)

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Other "productivity blockers" cited by the respondents?Excessive emails, excessive oversight, poor work prioritization anda lack of standard processes for workflow.

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In fact, respondents on average say they are interrupted anaverage of 13.9 times per day. Workfront cites University of California Irvine research thatfound it can take more than 20 minutes after an interruption toreturn to the original task.

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"The very tools we're using to enable communication andcollaboration may actually interfere with productivity," theauthors write. "Digging deeper, the same research also finds thatpeople who work in a state of constant interruption report higherlevels of stress and actually adapt their behavior to theinterruption environment."

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Workfront's survey found that 87 percent of respondents thinkleaders should reconsider the way they think about technology inthe workplace, while 84 percent say businesses today are missingopportunities by not moving to more modern solutions.

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Specifically, 86 percent of the respondents say next-generationemployees expect workplace technology that looks more like Amazonand Instagram, with 94 percent saying searching at work shouldmatch the ease of Googling.

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It would also greatly help if workers one centralized place tosee all work across the company, according to the survey. Amajority of the respondents (71 percent) would like to have asingle destination to understand and manage work, but 69 percentsay they don't have that type of solution in place.

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Moreover, 66 percent say their company has yet to have a "chiefwork officer"–an executive charged with coordinating people, work,content, process and performance–and one that oversees "thecomplete experience of working for the company."

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"The workforce understands that work management, as a practice,is vitally important," the authors write. "If it were up to them,it would be an executive leadership role."

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Workfront recommends that employers consider the followingquestions when considering a shift to strategic workmanagement:

  • Does every person in my organization understand our companystrategy and their role in our success?
  • Do leaders in our organization work to ensure people and teamscan focus on the work they've been hired to lead, drive, andaccomplish?
  • Are we measuring and incentivizing our people for accomplishingtasks and finishing projects, or achieving strategic outcomes?
  • Are the technology tools we use helping people accomplish theirstrategic objectives?
  • Do we provide all of our team members with the "why" behindtheir work?
  • Are we helping our people and teams align with strategicdecisions?

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