Category Archives: News

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Introducing the Absence Calendar

We here at DeskTime are constantly trying to come up with new ways to improve our service. Recently, as many of you may have already noticed, DeskTime presented a neat new feature for its users – the Absence Calendar, which will make day-to-day and long-term planning at your company easier.

What is the Absence Calendar?

It’s a tool that lets you easily follow and log days when employees have been absent. And it lets you plan ahead since you can start scheduling vacation days in a timely manner. The calendar offers various possible reasons for an employee’s absence – it can be either a conference, parental leave, business trip, vacation, unpaid leave, a sick day or a rest day.

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5 Reasons Why You Should Cycle to Work

One way to make sure your day is off to a productive start is by exercising. It doesn’t have to be anything rigorous – even a brisk walk is enough to get your blood flowing and energy up. If you like to cycle, consider commuting to work by bike. It kills two birds with one stone – you get to exercise by going someplace you’re already supposed to get to.

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The 9-5 Workday is Making Everyone Miserable

Dr. Paul Kelley, an academic at the University of Oxford, believes the traditional 9-5 schedule is making everybody miserable and sleep-deprived. He maintains that instead of trying to stick to a system that isn’t natural to our bodies, we need to overhaul our schedules to revolve around our circadian rhythms.

Most of Dr. Kelley’s research examines how early start times in educational institutions negatively affect student performance, particularly adolescents. However, his findings carry over to the corporate world. Adults don’t adapt to a 9 AM start time until the age of 55. So until that point, we’re all torturing ourselves trying to make it work.

During Dr. Kelley’s tenure as the head teacher at Monkseaton Middle School, he changed the school’s start time from 8:30 AM to 10 AM (a similar experiment is ongoing) and found that the number of top grades increased by 19%. If a delayed start time brought about these positive results in a school setting, what would happen if we applied a similar change to the corporate world? Are people more productive when they show up to work later in the day?

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Do Shorter Workdays Make Us More Productive?

Sweden thinks so, as several companies are experimenting with 6-hour workdays. They’re reporting greater profits, happier employees, and, perhaps surprisingly, more productivity. With North Americans typically working an average of 8.7 hours a day, it’s hard not to be envious of our Scandinavian counterparts.

The length of the workday has evolved over time. The Industrial Revolution saw the boom of factory work and middle-class jobs. Most people employed at factories worked an average of 10-16 hours a day, six days a week. This didn’t change until Henry Ford implemented 8-hour workdays for his employees in 1914. This standard has stayed the same since.

Maybe the rest of the world should take a cue from Sweden and re-evaluate the standard workday. Employee needs have changed since the early 1900s and it’s time to accommodate new norms and working conditions.

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Top time sucks of 2014 (and how to deal with them)

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Every year thousands of hours are wasted at work. A study by Salary.com found that according to 26% of employees surveyed, the Internet is their number one distraction. While web is a critical business tool, its misuse in the workplace could cost businesses more than $178 billion annually in lost productivity, as calculated by Websense. Your Facebook check doesn’t sound that guiltless anymore, huh?

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NEW feature! Customized application groups that suit your employees’ specifics

It’s been a while since we added application groups. This function let you categorize all applications in groups, which made it easy to see what your employees had been working on.

Yet not all applications can be put in the 6 categories proposed, right? Therefore, we’ve added a new function – you can now create specific and more accurate application groups that suit your company’s and employees’ specifics.

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Music doesn’t increase your productivity (but it helps you get more stuff done)

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Listening to music at work is still an individual thing – one can find it helpful, while others, disturbing. Yet, various studies claim that it’s able to boost overall workplace performance.

In a survey by Spotify, respondents admitted that music helps them do more because it creates a relaxing state, which makes them less nervous and fatigued, more energetic and enthusiastic while doing everyday tasks.

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Top 24 unproductive applications of 2014 and what that tells us

We recently pulled out the statistics of the most-used unproductive applications so far used in 2014. Some of the results are predictable, like social networks like Facebook and Youtube taking the top spots. Other results show us a change in working dynamic, for example, that Gmail is marked as a top unproductive app. Check out the rest:

Social media is dominating our work lives

Of the top 24 unproductive apps, 5 of those are social networking sites. Facebook, the undisputed leader of unproductive time spent at work, being by far the largest piece of the pie. Together, time spent on social networks accounts for about half of all of the unproductive time spent at work.

As social media takes an increasingly large role in our daily lives, it’s more relevant than ever that companies consider their policies on social media. One side of the debate maintains that time spent on social media is wasting company time, and therefore company money. Another side of the debate considers web surfing on social media as a necessary break throughout the day, saying that employees can’t be expected to be constantly engaged and productive for 8 hours straight.

It is not the presence of the technology itself that influences productivity but how it is used –Bulkey & Van Alstyne, 2004 

In this study by Bulkey and Van Atstyne, they conclude that using social media itself isn’t what’s unproductive, rather than the reasons for using it. For example, social media can be beneficial for sharing information, gathering knowledge, networking and communicating with customers.

Email is no longer considered productive

The fact that enough people have designated email as unproductive application is a telling sign. It used to be that being in your email was a symbol of productivity. And while it is a helpful tool for communication, and can at times be very productive, recent tendencies in the workplace are showing people’s addiction to email, constantly checking, etc.

However the latest productivity specialists suggest that constant email checking is a habit that decreases productivity, as it pulls you out of a certain task, and you’re not left with a long enough stretch of time to delve deeply into your work. A study by Altos Origin says 40% of employee time is spent working on internal emails alone. Productivity experts say that 80% of those emails are a waste of time, bringing no value to the company.

Suggestions and best case practices offer creating a habit to limit email checking time to a few times per day, and working on them in batch. Other suggestions suggest to avoid email first thing in the morning, and rather tackle the day’s most important task right off the bat.

Some research shows that those employees who use social media throughout the day produce the same amount of results as those who do not, due to the mental break that it allows, and the resulting spur of productivity that occurs from a rested mind.

Video-watching at work is a thing

According to a study, 64% of employees watch videos at work. Our collected data shows that within the top unproductive applications you’ll find Youtube, Netflix and Hulu. This brings video-watching at work to 23% of all wasted time.

Similar to the argument on social media usage, breaking and relaxation is a necessary part of the working day to rest the mind so that the employee is able to return to their work at a higher level of productivity.

Food for thought

The working climate around us is changing. It’s up to you how you manage your time and build habits. A manager or business owner will have to decide on the policy on social media, email communication and leisure time at work. Will it be

Employees want to have fun as well. Besides social media, top visited unproductive applications include sites that are just plain fun(ny), like 9gag, imgur, and even just a site to play puzzles and logic games. We can see that employees are looking for entertainment throughout the day.