Let’s face it; the office is a pretty distracting place most of the time. You have people in meetings, discussions happening around every corner, the phone ringing every thirty seconds, and emails hitting your inbox left and right. With so much happening around you, how in the world are you supposed to get anything done?
Here are four of the most distracting parts of working in an office environment, and how you can easily beat them to improve productivity.
Some of your employees receive countless emails every day, to the point where trying to keep up with their inbox is the most distracting part of the workday. In fact, you might even know for yourself how difficult email can be to manage. If you’re constantly replying to emails as they come in, how can you get any work done?
To beat this, try only checking your email three times a day (or if more frequently at least set intervals where you are focused and not checking email as it comes in). Doing so allows you to focus on your work and feel less stressed about immediate responses. This strategy affords you more time to get work done throughout the day. What you need to do is set aside time for doing nothing but reply to emails. Try doing this once in the morning, again around midday, and at the end of the day. You’ll be amazed by how much more work you get done and how freeing it can be. If something is really important, you should count on your co-workers to use a more immediate communication medium, like a phone call or IM.
People in Meetings and/or Collaborating
Many businesses have turned to the open office environment, where cubicles are removed in favor of a more open and collaborative workplace. While this can be great at times for teams that need to communicate with each other, the more autonomous departments will be distracted by conversations happening around them, regardless of whether or not it pertains to them. When employees can’t focus, they can’t get work done.
To fix this issue, your office needs dedicated meeting rooms that should be scheduled out and used as often as possible. This keeps the office relatively quiet for those that need to concentrate on their work. Or, if you have a BYOD policy and your team has laptops they can use, you can let them choose where they want to work in the building (or even outside). If they can find a nice quiet corner somewhere in the office, they’ll get more work done.
Chatter and Gossip
Every office has people who like to chat once in awhile, but sometimes this chatting can become a problem if left unchecked. People are easily distracted by nature, so even the most diligent worker can find it difficult to work when they want to offer their two cents in on a conversation. This trap is easy to fall into, especially in the open office environment where there’s no privacy for anyone.
The answer to this issue is simple; either separate yourself from the room, or get lost in a good noise-cancelling pair of headphones that are designed to help you keep to yourself. You can make this easier for your employees by providing each of them with a pair of comfortable, quality headphones.
No matter how diligent you and your workers are, you’re all bound to get distracted by the wonders of the Internet at some point. Whether it’s social media, YouTube, or memes, your workers can, and will, get distracted by the endless possibilities that the Internet offers. Therefore, it’s your job to make sure that they are aware of how to manage their time and to indulge in these distractions sparingly.
If you’re still running into productivity problems, you can implement a web content filtering solution, which is designed to limit employees’ exposure to dangerous or time-wasting websites on the Internet. You can filter content on a per-user basis, so you can allow your responsible employees to indulge in casual browsing from time to time as long as they get their work done, while keeping the wasteful employees away from such sites.
For more information and best practices about eliminating office distractions, give the team at Midnight Blue a call at (412) 342-3800.