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Contrary to some managers’ assumptions, there are many employees in the office who actually want to work. They chose their careers for a reason, after all.

But ironically, there are times when the office—the location solely intended for work—is not the most conducive place to get anything done.

The worst part is that sometimes, there’s just no way of helping it.

Who are we, mere mortals at the beck and whims of the technology gods?

Or sometimes it’s the machinations of the higher ups, who for their own obscure reasons insist on time-wasting activities.

Here are some of the biggest time and productivity killers, in all their rage-inducing glory.

1. When bosses constantly rearrange your seating all the time.

This is an international problem that knows no race or nation. Your team keeps growing or your current seating arrangement is making someone unhappy, so a higher up decides to switch it up.

Unfortunately, this tedious ball of hassle may sometimes be demanded of simply because of feng shui, or an ever-evolving notion of aesthetics that you can never catch up with.

2. When internet or servers are down.

In this internet-dependent era, many of us will know how work grinds to a halt once the internet or servers are down.

This is particularly painful if your company stores everything on their servers, meaning no access = no work.

You’re dependent on the harassed and overworked internal tech team to save you, or have to wade through the slow bureaucracy of outside help. And the combination of all of this helplessness grinds everything to a halt in the worst way possible.

3. When stupid office rules keep you from getting anything done.

Things like stupid red tape, pointless internet/mobile restrictions, or hiring someone who doesn’t know anything to lead an entire team can lead to a waste of everybody’s time in the office.

What is worse about stupid office rules is that they hint at an underlying problem at the core of the company.

This means that the office probably has something like unproductive work weeks or months, rather than just days, which may frustrate employees into leaving.

Speaking of unproductive…

4. When you have to attend all those long, unproductive meetings.

Meetings are something of a necessary evil in the workplace, but there’s good reason for them. Done well, they’re an effective and straight-to-the-point way of aligning expectations and task goals with everyone relevant to the project.

If only all meetings were like that.

For example, some corporate offices have morning huddles, where everyone present is expected to sit down and express what their task is for the day.

If your office consists of 30 people, you have to sit there and wait for 30 people to each finish talking before you can actually start working.

Then there are those long meetings with no plan, that drag from minutes to hours, where no one can get anything done.

5. When the printer misbehaves.

Don’t let your printer know if you need a document urgently. It senses your anxiety.

Image Credit: Supplycart

If you’ve ever waited for your documents to be printed only to hear that monstrous crunch, you probably encountered a paper jam. That might be no fault of your own—paper jams could be caused by the type of paper used.

You could also be the victim of what the printing community calls spooling, meaning that your documents are loading into a buffer (somewhere in the abyss of your computer’s disk). The printer’s just taking its time to get them from the buffer.

Yes, printers take their own sweet time too.

6. When you have to attend pointless team bonding.

At its core, team bonding is a noble idea that could bring some much-needed synergy into the office.

Often though, the execution can leave a lot to be desired. It’s already bad when the company conducts these sessions within office hours.

But when you’re mandated to appear on a bright Saturday morning instead of being able to spend time with your family and friends at home, it’s hard not to begrudge your office for a wasted weekend day.

7. When the whole team is forced to sit through a lecture because of ONE person.

This is one thing from school that you’ve never escaped. There’s that one person in the office who always screws with the rules of the office, or perhaps someone made a mistake.

Well, now you might as well have made that sinful transgression yourself, because everyone is getting punished for it.

This is especially worse if your manager or higher up demands absolute attention to their long talk, and you can’t do anything else within that hour-long lecture but listen, and hold a seething grudge against the poor sap who started it all.

8. When a “VIP” comes in, and all work is put on hold to pander to them.

On those days where your CEO from another country pops in, or you’re welcoming in a celebrity (or someone like a celebrity for your office’s standards), all work for the day is stopped so that you can welcome in your visitor.

Best case scenario, you only have to carve out an hour or two of your time to explain to what your work is, instead of, y’know, actually doing it.

But sometimes it’s a full-day’s affair, where you have to put on a show of “working”, when none of it is actually happening.

9. When someone has the info you need to finish the project, but is suddenly uncontactable.

This is an epidemic exists in all companies, big or small.

You have work that needs to be completed urgently. It’s mostly done, but you just need this last bit of information from someone before you can send it out into the world, and off your plate.

You send that email, only to discover that this crucial person is on vacation. Or, they’re supposedly available, but do not reply no matter how many desperate calls and WhatsApps you send them.

As a result, the work before is useless because you ran out of time, or it turns a week-long task into a month-long one.


Have you encountered other office situations that have been a complete waste of time? Let us know in the comments.

This article was written in collaboration with Supplycart. Supplycart is currently offering 200 reams of IK Yellow 70 gm A4 paper at a discounted price, while stocks last. More info here.

Supplycart offers convenience to get everything you need for your office at the comfort of your desk. Choose everything you need for your workspace ranging from pantry to stationery supplies with their personalised packages, catering to different types of companies’ needs.

Feature Image Credit: Screenshot from The Office on NBC


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© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)

Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)