Identifying the Source of Decreased Productivity

It’s difficult to improve output without knowing what’s causing low productivity. Fortunately, many businesses experience the same causes and can adapt to address them.

Common Causes of Low Productivity

  1. Focusing on the wrong tasks
  2. Using the wrong tools or processes
  3. Switching between tasks too frequently (context switching)
  4. Experiencing a lack of focus
  5. Procrastinating

Reassigning Tasks or Tools

If you see someone has high activity but completes tasks slowly, you can take a quick look at their app usage and screenshots in Hubstaff.

You may notice that they’re using substandard apps, at which point you can offer better tools. For this, we suggest speaking to the person directly. Sometimes, people are just scared to ask for the tools they need to do their job.

In the worst case scenario, you might see they are getting a high activity score, but they are not active in the right apps. This could lead to a conversation on wasted time (spent on social networks or other sites) and a refocusing on priority tasks.

Regaining Focus and Fighting Multitasking

One very innocent but dangerous issue team members face is a lack of focus and constant context switching (multitasking).

It’s very easy in a busy organization to get distracted. Dividing attention across seven different projects, helping people out and never getting into deep work can keep your team from more productive days. If your staff can’t work on a single task solidly for an hour or more, they are unlikely to achieve anything.

You can spot this by looking at timesheets and checking to see if your staff is logging in a lot of separate, short periods of work against many tasks.

To fix this, help them organize their day, encourage them to say no to people who want to distract them and help them get into ‘the zone’ as often as they can. Again, identifying priorities and working toward shared goals can help rally a team.


Reviewing where your team’s time is going on a weekly or monthly basis can help you uncover opportunities for growth. From there, scheduling standups on a regular basis or as needed can create a space for dialogue about productivity, their own goals and the process as a whole.

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