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Are your staff really working? Ten signs of a serial procrastinator

If you’re worried your staff could be dilly-dallying, here are ten signs you’ve got a demotivation problem

It can sometimes be hard to determine if your staff are working as hard as they seem to be. However, there are some signs that suggest someone may be putting more effort into avoiding work than doing it.

Workforces today face more distractions than ever, and while some employees may find their minds momentarily wander, others have procrastination down to a fine art.

1. Walking purposefully around the office

The best way to stay under the radar is to always look busy. With this in mind, beware of those who dash around the office as if they’re up against the clock. They could simply be hurrying to the bathroom or the vending machine.

2. Carrying a wad of files

Carrying a pile of documents screams: “I have a lot to do.” This is particularly common when an employee wants to chat with a colleague at their desk. The presence of the files makes it look like they’re talking about work, rather than what they had for dinner last night.

3. They’ve gone extremely quiet

It’s not always a good sign when a member of the team is working in silence. Often, colleagues won’t bother someone who seems too busy to speak, so this is the perfect way to dodge extra tasks.

4. They’re making lots of noise

Being noisy can also work in a procrastinator’s favour, as long as the noise is work related. Chatting loudly on the phone, banging haphazardly on a keyboard or even partaking in endless amounts of printing could all be distraction techniques.

5. Eyeballs glued to the computer screen

Just because an employee is staring intently at their screen doesn’t mean they’re focusing on work. This state of concentration could be hiding a social media session or internet shopping spree.

6. The clean-freaks

These are your colleagues who live by the “clean desk, clean mind” mantra. Look out for constant file-arranging, paper-tray-sorting and anti-bacterial-wiping.

7. Their desk is littered with to-do notes

At the other end of the spectrum, a busy desk may not mean a busy employee. A workspace covered in post-it notes and to-do lists could simply be the product of an afternoon’s procrastination.

8. Mystery phone calls

Talking on the phone is perhaps the best way to avoid work. While a colleague is occupied in a call, there’s no way of checking up on them and it’s impossible to tell if it’s an important contact on the other end.

9. They seem to be addicted to caffeine

A hot beverage dependency serves two purposes. First, the time spent brewing endless cups of tea or coffee eats into work time, while also hinting to others how hard an individual is working, as they’re in constant search of a caffeine boost.

10. Dressing the part

According to blogger Tamara Jenkins, some employees may be dodging work by donning professional-looking attire. In order to avoid work, she suggests wearing a pair of glasses, even if they’re not needed.

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