Are lazy workers lazy at home too

They shine in the Powerpoint presentation in front of the boss. But as soon as the supervisor is not there, they don't lift a finger: the sloths among their colleagues. The hardworking envy them. They would also like to shift down a gear at work. Instead, they sit longer in the office and work in the evenings. But by no means everyone gets through the job with half the effort, warns the author Susanne Reinker, who has written a guide for lazy workers. In order not to attract negative attention, sloths need a sophisticated strategy.

Good image despite minimal effort

The truth is: "The performance concept has had its day," says Reinker. In many companies it was not the hard-working who made a career, but those who had a good image. To build that, you need a lot more factors than pure technical competence. The sloths among the colleagues know how to be considered good and reliable employees - with minimal effort.

If you want to go through your working life with half the effort, you should first clarify a fundamental question for yourself: “What is success for me?” Advises Reinker. Anyone planning a steep career with a lot of money, prestige and power should not be lazy. This is especially true when starting your career. “But anyone who expects a secure livelihood, a comfortable life and fun at work from their job will do extremely well with the sloth strategy,” she says. Reinker is convinced: In the majority of jobs, 70 to 80 percent work leads to success - 150 percent is not always necessary.

Successful slackers never stay longer

But how do employees get away with laziness? In order to have a stress-free work life, the comfortable ones are usually excellent no-sayers - a behavior that many women find difficult, as the management consultant Raimund Milz from Hanover knows.

If the boss approaches them shortly before the end of the day with a customer inquiry, successful lazy people no longer stay in the office themselves. You go to the dutiful colleague at the next table, who, unlike you, simply cannot say no, and ask whether he could “just give you a hand”. They are already off to work - and can proudly announce to the boss the next day that the matter is done.

Friendliness and a tidy desk

In order to achieve as much as possible with as little effort as possible, good time management is also required. “Planning is everything,” explains advisor Milz. The sloths among colleagues often take the liberty of not being available by phone or email for certain hours. During this time, they work concentrated - and can go home earlier in the evening.

To do this, sloths must always be on time and have good behavior and a tidy desk. That is actually old hat, says Reinker. But the good impression is everything on the outside. Those who meet these criteria are often already considered competent and reliable. Successfully being comfortable also requires adhering to the standards and rules of the company. That means always and always to be loyal to the boss and to protect him in case of doubt. "That has nothing to do with sloppiness or opportunism, but with healthy pragmatism," explains Reinker. Anyone who gets on well with the boss can afford to be relaxed.

The sloths among the colleagues are also usually extremely sociable contemporaries. “After all, people want harmony,” says Reinker. Those who are well-liked in the company can allow themselves to shift down a gear from time to time.

Ten time killers - how to avoid them

1st place: emails

The daily struggle with the flood of e-mails takes the most time: a third of employees need one to two hours every day to write and answer e-mails. A little less, namely 22 percent, even need more than two hours to process all messages. Time managers advise, if possible, to open the e-mail program only once or twice a day. Various sub-folders in the inbox provide a better overview and separate important from unimportant mail.

Officetime.net, a provider of tracking software, has identified the biggest time killers by means of a survey.

2nd place: surfing the Internet

Internet time thief: 27 percent of those surveyed stated that they surfed websites for at least two hours a day. Experts recommend setting time limits yourself if necessary - for example with the mobile phone alarm clock. If that doesn't help, here's a little consolation from science: surfing the web privately during working hours makes you more productive, according to a study by the National University of Singapore.

3rd place: television

The authors of the study do not say whether many working people actually have a television in their office. But you can also watch the internet on YouTube or via the media libraries of the TV stations. 26 percent of those surveyed watch TV for up to two hours a day while at work.

4th place: procrastination

The task pile grows and grows, but it is better to have a coffee first: Almost a fifth of working people waste up to two hours a day putting off things. Only 1 in 10 respondents are really productive all day long. To overcome procrastination, it is best to make a list of priorities and tackle the most important or particularly unpleasant things first. You should also note the right time for the task - if you work better under pressure, you should set a very tight time frame.

5th place: meetings

There's something to talk about ... 18 percent of employees sit for one to two hours in business meetings every day. You drink coffee, have small talk - and come to no conclusion. If there is a working meeting, a concrete objective, an agenda and a fixed time frame are necessary. If necessary, frequent speakers should be interrupted by the meeting leader and cell phones switched off. A meeting does not always make sense - sometimes even the "small official channel" is enough to clarify things, advise the experts from Business Wissen.

6th place: private conversations

A little small talk here and there is okay - the casual chat can improve the working atmosphere and reduce stress. However, 16 percent waste up to two hours of their daily working hours with it. Only 3 percent of employees hardly ever chat with colleagues. Private conversations on the job should last a maximum of five minutes - nothing more. Then you should say goodbye in a friendly manner and honestly say that you still have work to do.

7th place: commuting

Delayed trains, endless traffic jams on the autobahn: the annoying commuting eats up to two hours of your working time, said 13 percent of those surveyed. You have to adjust your time management to the circumstances. Train travelers can read the newspaper or use a notebook to prepare things for work. Carpooling is also often worthwhile. Above all, it is important to start early and avoid rush hour as much as possible.

8th place: social networks

Facebook, Xing, Twitter & Co. cost 11 percent of employees valuable working time, and they waste between one and two hours a day privately using social networks. Experts advise turning off automatic notifications is best. There is now special computer software that can be used to temporarily block the web pages. Anyone who has to share links or other content in networks for work can schedule this using the online service Buffer.

9th place: cell phone

Just send a message via smartphone - it's quick, but it sucks with many SMS: The private use of mobile phones eats up up to two hours of their time, according to 10 percent of employees. It is best to keep the devices switched off, apart from the breaks.

10th place: bureaucracy

After all, 8 percent of employees named the stress of paperwork and bureaucratic regulations as big time thieves: They spend up to two hours a day doing it. A quarter of the survey participants do not have to deal with such problems at all. The only thing that helps is: close your eyes and go! A tidy desk with various shelves helps to separate important forms from unimportant ones.

And there is one thing that comfortable colleagues are definitely not allowed to be: perfectionists. Sloths know: “I can do 80 percent of the work properly in 20 percent of the time. If I want to hand in perfect work, I have to butter in the remaining 80 percent of the time, ”explains Reinker. Often the boss doesn't even notice that an employee could have done their work much better - that's why they forego perfection from the outset.

In addition, sloths are masters at leaving out the unimportant. Time management expert Professor Lothar Seiwert recommends that employees keep the tried and tested to-do list best. "Tasks that I keep putting off cannot be that important". Sloths know how to consistently leave them out. And just don't let the boss feel insecure when he puts on pressure again. Often he just wants a buffer himself. But the clever sloth knows that.

Consistent time management gives employees time for hidden idleness. And the skilful sloth can take care of it in the office. The right camouflage is everything, Reinker knows. It ensures that employees always look busy to outsiders when they are actually taking things a little slower in the office. That's the way it is, the sloth, naturally a bit more comfortable, but definitely not stupid. (dpa)

Saving time in a meeting: how to do it

Formulate goals and procedures

At the beginning - and if necessary in between - you should refer to the goal of the meeting and describe how to proceed (example: "First comes the five-minute keynote speech XY, then we discuss it for 15 minutes"). Priorities should also be clearly set (“Today's main goal is to find a new product slogan”). Such a structure will be helpful for most of the participants.

Create a topic plan

Meetings are well designed when there is an agenda or a thematic plan. This is best communicated in good time and in writing before the meeting or, if necessary, verbally at the meeting. The most important points are at the top of the agenda - because, according to psychologists, they are given the highest priority because of this position. Some recommend discussing the order of the plan at the beginning of the session - but not for too long.

Clear timelines

The duration of the meeting and the individual presentations is set in minutes. It should be clear to all participants: The meeting begins and ends on time. If individuals are regularly late, those present should start with the most important point - this cures notorious late arrivals. A late checkout also pays off.

Head and time manager

One person who leads the meeting is important for the process - another participant takes the minutes. It is helpful if someone also acts as a "time manager" to ensure that the agenda is adhered to. Endless monologues may be interrupted with questions in between. On this, this is done by first saying the name of the speaker: "Mr. XY, isn't it the case that ...?" In most cases, however, the following applies: Let excuses.

Use control cards

Psychologists recommend hand cards to restrict behavior that is not very effective. These can be labeled, for example, with “wailing” or “word contribution interrupted”. You pick them up when someone complains or interrupts another - this saves time-consuming exchanges. It is important to explain the rules to everyone in advance.

Write results log

After the meeting it is often unclear what the next steps are. A result protocol that the author sends to the participants in a timely manner helps here. The recipients are welcome to add to the protocol. At the next meeting, those present should verify that they have achieved their goals.

Alternatives to the meeting

Finance experts consider 31.5 percent of all meetings to be superfluous, according to surveys by the personnel service provider Robert Half. Before meetings are called, those responsible should always consider whether a meeting is really necessary. Finally, there are alternatives, such as conference calls, business lunches, exchanges by e-mail or brainstorming. Standing meetings are popular in the USA: standing conversations cost less time and produce better results.

No-go talk to the side

Often other conversations are held alongside the main discussion, or several people are talking at one another - the meeting leader should intervene here as quickly as possible. Telephone rings during the meeting are also very annoying. Therefore, the cell phone should be off. Exceptions are only allowed in emergencies, for example if the partner is heavily pregnant. Announce inevitable calls in advance, mute the phone and go out immediately.

Quiet, matter-of-fact, committed

Please do not freak out: The meeting should be calm, factual, and everyone should be actively listening. This is the only way to work efficiently. Every participant has to try to get involved in the discussion, and not just sit there listless - that is disrespectful to the colleagues. Stay attentive even during lectures, take notes.

Extra tip: coffee for everyone or none

If there is no coffee in the meeting, everyone should act on it. It's not a good style when a participant takes a mug from the office kitchen, says Agnes Jarosch from the German Knigge Council. Especially when external guests are present, it makes a bad impression, it is impolite if they are not offered anything. If drinks are ready, you can also help yourself while someone is speaking at the front - but discreetly and quietly.