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Five reasons knowledge workers are unproductive

Stop and think for a moment about what impedes your productivity. Are you tasked with too many duties? Do you not have the right information at your reach when you need it? Are you unable to delegate small tasks to others?

You can probably group whatever you've identified in one of five categories. That's the finding of an ongoing research project being conducted by McKinsey and Company.

The study has looked at the knowledge interactions of 235 knowledge workers at several global organizations. It defined knowledge interactions as "those involving only the knowledge in people’s heads, not data or basic information that can be downloaded through technology alone."

Researchers found half of all interactions are constrained by one of five barriers:
  • Physical
  • Technical
  • Social or cultural
  • Contextual
  • Temporal
McKinsey recently analyzed this finding in its business journal, McKinsley Quarterly. It's worth a read. The article provides examples of each productivity barrier and recommendations for how to overcome them. Where do you fall? Or is there a category McKinsey is missing?

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