Six common office problems that kill productivity


When we think of workplace productivity, we often jump to the most complex factors such as how we’re managing daily processes or work-life balance. But what we often neglect are the simple things that exist right before our very eyes and affect the way we work.

Here’s a few things you should be looking out for in your office to ensure your staff are working to their full potential.

Desk dividers

These pretty much serve no purpose whatsoever other than to create an eyesore in the office and inhibit collaboration among your staff members. The chances are people won’t stand up to peer over the desk divider and speak to a colleague, they’ll resort to their emails instead. Seriously, they’re a real conversation killer and make you feel like you’re working in isolation.

Unnecessary meetings

Sometimes it can feel that there’s a meeting for just about everything. Sometimes, the smallest of updates and the most trivial decisions come with a minimum half an hour meeting request in the calendar. But of course, while the real purpose of the meeting has been disposed of within the first five minutes, you can guarantee someone will take you off on a tangent and fill the remaining 25 minutes regardless.

Misuse of emails

Whether it’s out of laziness or our fascination with having a “paper trail” for just about everything that gets discussed or decided, emails are a big inhibitor when it comes to collaboration in the workplace. While it’s been proven that impromptu, face-to-face meetings will result in better relationships between staff members and faster decision making, unfortunately, most workers will still choose to send an email to the person sitting three feet away. It’s not surprising that some workplaces have banned them all together.

Poor seating arrangements

It doesn’t sound like it should be that important but it is. Staff members who don’t feel connected to those sitting around them feel isolated from the rest of the business. It’s important staff members are seated appropriately to enable them to easily collaborate with like-minded individuals and bounce ideas off one another. Also, it’s often said that people who sit next to others who are higher up in the business are often less productive. After all, no one likes the feeling of being watched.


Long commutes aren’t a great start to anyone’s day, especially if you’re stuck in a traffic jam or standing for the full length of your train journey. Not to mention the time wasted in transit. But technology has moved on, so while some workplaces have embraced the benefits of remote working others are still slow to catch on. Affording your staff the opportunity to spend a couple of days a week working from home, sparing them the time, expense and frustrations of travelling – you might find they are a lot more productive in return.

Airing your frustrations

We all get frustrated with situations and people but unfortunately, some people can’t keep a lid on them. While it’s OK to be frustrated, making a show of your emotions in the workplace is detrimental to people around you. Negativity creates a tense atmosphere and will rub off on others. So don’t bring people down with you, just walk away and take a break.