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Can You Stay Productive In the Face of Constant Distraction?

Can You Stay Productive In the Face of Constant Distraction?

The modern office is filled with distractions, and that’s to say nothing about the everyday user’s life. With so many devices and notifications interrupting focus for users all over the world, it’s more important than ever before to have a strategy for how to deal with these issues and become as productive as possible in the workplace. Today, we’ll be discussing some of the biggest distractions in the workplace and how your employees can overcome them.

The Reality
The modern workplace is a shifting environment. If businesses don’t adapt to the changes, they could potentially be left behind by the times, or worse--subject to countless distractions that are a result of this shifting environment. Some of these issues are created by the employer through the use of open-office environments designed to reduce the costs of housing employees in the workplace. While this achieves the desired goal, the end result is often less productivity due to the constant distractions that plague the open office. Employees could find themselves more stressed out and less motivated--not the ideal situation for anyone working for your business.

Some might get the idea that this happens because the employees aren’t trained to thrive in such a busy workplace environment, as evidenced by a poll from Udemy in which 66 percent of respondents claimed so. If you feel your staff suffers from productivity issues, then you should look at the underlying causes of this. Asking them can help you see it from their perspective. You’ll see a lot of the same answers: too much noise, overcrowded office, and even too much technology that they don’t understand. As surprising as this might sound, it’s important to keep it in mind.

Staying Social
Even workers that enjoy working side-by-side with others are finding that there are still ample opportunities to be distracted. Employees have near-constant access to social accounts thanks to your business’ Wi-Fi connection, meaning that you’ll need a content filter and mobile device policy in place to limit how much your employees can access these time-wasting accounts. It’s likely that employees will, more likely than not, see this as a detriment to their personal agenda and not as a benefit to your business or their productivity. While social media can be helpful for marketing and other purposes, it can also lead to users compulsively checking their devices, cutting into productivity.

Distracted Staff
Even the smallest distraction can influence productivity for an extended period of time. Some users can take up to a half-hour or so to refocus on a task. Of course, even periods of time that are supposed to be in the workday for breaks, like lunchtime, can inadvertently create distractions; without them, however, productivity suffers even more. One example of a situation that an employee could consider a distraction is a staff meeting. While they are necessary, they themselves are often full of distractions, and pulling employees away from their work for distraction-filled meetings is sure to both frustrate and stress out your busier employees. If employees suffer from productivity breaks, they might overstress themselves into overproducing to compensate for the time lost. This leads to a lower quality of work performed as a whole. According to Udemy, 34 percent of workers found they like their jobs less when they are distracted, while 22 percent found that this also kept them from professional advancement.

Strategies for Improvement
To create a culture of productivity, you have to create what’s called a learning culture. Basically, you provide training to your employees on how to manage their distractions so they influence productivity as minimally as possible. If employees know how to deal with distractions, they will be more likely to avoid them throughout the workday, and therefore, be more productive. Some of the most common distractions can be addressed in the following manner:

  • Too much noise: If the office is a little too noisy for your liking, put on headphones. Even if you’re not listening to any music, it’s likely you’ll be distracted less, as people are generally more considerate about bothering others with headphones on.
  • Smartphone access: In recent years, the smartphone has become like your house keys; you don’t leave your house without it. The device is designed around you, and as such, it can be a considerable distraction. By turning off notifications and keeping your phone out of sight, you’ll be more likely to focus on what needs to be done.
  • Coworker interactions: While it’s important to develop a good rapport with your coworkers, too much chit-chat can be distracting. Be sure to develop strong signals that you can give them if you’d rather not have a conversation at any given moment.
  • Hunger: While the lunch break is certainly a thing, some people need a little extra boost to make it through the morning. If a productivity session is interrupted by your growling stomach, just munch on something small to get you through the next few hours.

If technology is getting in the way of your employees’ productivity, we have a solution for you. To find out more, give Washington Works a call at 301-571-5040.

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