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The Top Workplace Productivity Killers, Email Mistakes, and Overused Buzzwords

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Enterprise workers say wasteful meetings and excessive emails are the top productivity killers at their jobs, according to recent research from Workfront.

The report was based on data from a survey conducted in June 2017 among 2,001 US respondents, all of whom are employed by a company with at least 500 employees and who are "knowledge workers" (they work primarily on a computer and collaborate with other people on projects).

Some 57% of respondents say wasteful meetings get in the way of their work, and 53% say excessive emails get in the way of their work.

Respondents say they spend just 44% of their workweek performing the primary duties of their jobs, on average.

The rest of the time is split between emails (15%, on average), administrative tasks (11%), useful meetings (10%), nonessential tasks (8%), wasteful meetings (8%), and everything else (4%).


Respondents say the biggest email mistakes in the workplace are using lengthy messages to relay information that should be conveyed face-to-face, and being forced to follow lengthy email threads.

Respondents say the most overused buzzwords/phrases at their workplaces are "think outside the box," "synergy," "bandwidth," and "circle back."

Workers give their own productivity an average score of 8.4 on a 1 to 10 scale, with 10 being perfect; they give their direct reports a 7.55 rating, and their co-workers a 7.39 rating.

Respondents view corporate leaders as the least productive workers (average rating of 6.72).

About the research: The report was based on data from a survey conducted in June 2017 among 2,001 US respondents, all of whom are employed by a company with at least 500 employees and who are "knowledge workers" (they work primarily on a computer and collaborate with other people on projects).


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Ayaz Nanji is an independent digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Content, a marketing agency specializing in content creation for brands and businesses. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

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  • by Tony Madejczyk Tue Oct 3, 2017 via web

    Does "think outside the box" get over-used because people rarely want to do that? For various reasons, of course.

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