In a world of instant messaging, social media, push notifications, e-commerce, and shrinking office spaces, it can be so easy to get distracted by loud voices, phone calls, co-workers, and deliveries of all sorts of things—food, coffee, office supplies, etc. The average employee gets distracted at least 50 times a day in the office. Have you ever felt the need to unplug your computer and go to a “safe space”?
Perhaps, a coffee shop down the road? About 80% of these 50 instances of distractions are unimportant. Meaning, they could otherwise have not happened at all. What is the point of getting distracted by someone delivering coffee?
Office managers, supervisors, and business owners must work to create an office space that is conducive for working. They must find ways to eliminate distractions so that everyone can work productively. The business stands to gain from a culture of productiveness and an office space that is free from unimportant distractions such as co-workers babbling loudly about the latest Netflix series they discovered.
But this one is true, too: some kind of distraction is needed because life can be pretty boring in the office. Imagine typing away on your laptop for eight to nine hours straight a day. Wouldn’t you crave distractions, too? You need a break and sometimes, those talkative co-workers are just what you need. But workers should draw the line when the distractions become so frequent that they affect their jobs.
Frequent distractions become stressful eventually because they will be keeping you away from meeting your deadlines. This means you’ll soon be scrambling and working overtime.
Yes, it’s okay for your employees to talk with each other. They need to build rapport by talking about personal stuff, interests, and hobbies. But it’s not okay for them to talk all the time. Make sure there is an office policy about this.
You might as well look for other sources of noise in the office. You won’t often notice it, but the noise from overworking computer processors is so loud it’s distracting. Check if it’s possible for you to buy a silent desktop PC. These are powerful processors that are passively cooled, which eliminates the need for loud cooling fans.
The only device in front of you should be your laptop or computer. If you leave your phone beside your laptop, there’s a good chance you’re going to check it from time to time. Sure, your laptop can connect to social media, too, but studies found that people are more likely to check Facebook on their smartphones rather than on laptops. Unless it’s an emergency, try not to answer texts and personal emails. Do your online banking transactions when you get home.
Implement the same policy for your employees. Though you should not hinder them from using their phones (it is still a free country), you should encourage them to eliminate these devices from their workspace. Tell them that they are going to accomplish more and have more time for themselves during the weekend if they finish their work on time.
Manage Time and Space Well
You might have to create individualized schedules for your employees or allow them to come in anytime they want. Some of them might want to work when there’s no one in the office yet. That will allow them to concentrate on their jobs. Others might be comfortable coming in late and working overtime. Maybe they need to take care of personal things at home. They’ll be more productive once they know everything is settled back home.
Let your employees use the conference and meeting rooms when they need a quiet space. Everyone should know what it means when a co-worker transfers to the conference room. It means that person doesn’t want to be distracted. Create “quiet spaces” for your employees.
Encourage Employees to Take Care of Themselves More
Lack of sleep leads to a lack of focus. People who don’t sleep well tend to be irritable, too. Make sure that everyone understands well-being is connected to productivity in the office. People who lack sleep get distracted easily. Their minds wander. They have a hard time concentrating on their tasks. Encourage everyone to take better care of their health.
Distractions are always present. There is no way to eliminate them completely. However, you have to work extra hard to make sure that the work is being done when it needs to be done. You are not only responsible for the company, but you should also lead the way for your employees.