Virtual assistant Grace Malyon crams at the end of the workday to finish tasks that she could finish in half of her eight-hour shift, leading her to question whether long hours at work means she's more productive.
The long working hours are unnecessary since she can be productive in less than the required work hours in a day, if not for the distractions, she said.
"Ang nagiging thinking ko rin kasi 'kaya ko naman ito tapusin ng mabilis kaya mamaya na lang' tapos mare-realize ko na lang na ang dami ko na sinayang na oras pala sa TikTok at Shopee kaya magka-cram na ako," she told reportr.
"Usually, I'm very efficient at the start of my work shift pero pag nagkakaroon kasi ng parang downtime, nadi-distract na ako sa ibang bagay," she added.
It's a fact that there are days that are more productive than the others but realistically speaking, workers cannot stay productive for all the hours of their work shifts.
In general, employees stay productive for about five to six hours daily, results of a January 2022 survey by data analytics firm Milieu Insight in five Southeast Asian countries, including the Philippines showed.
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When are you most productive?
In the case of the Philippines, employees said they are generally productive between the hours of 8 a.m. to 6:59 p.m., with the majority saying they are "most productive" from 8 a.m. to 12:59 p.m. or the first half of the day.
"Managers should keep note of giving employees the time and space to complete urgent tasks, or those requiring concentration or flow," Milieu said.
Morning meetings should be "time-efficient" while activities requiring less effort such as attending seminars and team-building may "ideally" be held after 1 p.m. to maximize the productivity of employees according to Milieu.
When it comes to workdays, the survey found that nearly half of Filipino workers at 48% believe they are most productive on Mondays and are least productive on Fridays.
In terms of breaks, the survey found that more Filipinos at 57% prefer having one long break than having many small breaks (43%).
What are the top distractions?
Not all working hours are spent actually working. Employees, according to Milieu, were found to usually spend an hour during their working hours not working.
For Filipino employees, the survey found that activities that are not related to their job that take up most of workers' time during work hours are browsing social media, eating snacks, and calling or chatting with friends.
Here are the top five activities that Filipino employees spend time on during their working hours that are not related to their job:
- Browsing social media- 60%
- Eating snacks- 51%
- Calling or chatting with friends- 41%
- Playing online games- 35%
- Shopping online, Sleeping- 28%
How to stay productive?
Longer working hours don't always translate to more productivity.
Here are some tips on how you can stay productive during work hours from JobStreet Philippines:
1. Find your rhythm
Different jobs call for different working hours which is why it's best to find your rhythm to stay productive. Some work better in the morning while others work better in the afternoon.
Knowing your rhythm will help you manage your office hours and tasks better so you can anticipate your unproductive hours.
2. Decrease your monitor's brightness
Many employees spend a lot of their working hours in front of the computer which can lead to eyestrain, headaches, and loss of productivity.
To avoid eyestrain, try to decrease your monitor's brightness to a comfortable level so you can lessen your eyes' exposure to harsh light.
3. Look at cute animal photos
Looking at cute animal photos such as those of kittens can actually help improve concentration by as much as 44% according to a study by Japan’s Hiroshima University.
The study found that looking at cute animal photos boosts focus "induced by the cuteness-triggered positive emotion."
So the next time you find it hard to concentrate, you might want to check out those cute puppy photos.