It took me four times longer than usual to write this article. In a couple of minutes you need to read it, you’ll probably check your phone, answer a text, check Slack, read an email, or maybe even switch tabs to your Facebook news feed. It’s also quite possible that one of your colleagues will come to your table to ask something - whether it’s work-related or not.
It seems paradoxical, doesn’t it? The place that was specifically designed for productive work, an office, is one of the most distracting places.
But, there might be something you can do, and save yourself and your team from this distraction-apocalypse.
Most Common Workplace Distractions
I know you’re expecting me to say that the biggest workplace distractions are social media, clickbait articles and funny cat videos. Truth is, they are.
However, there are some things in the workplace which were originally designed to help boost workers’ productivity, but they somehow managed to do otherwise.
Researchers have been studying these for a while, and numerous studies have shown that the top productivity killers in the workplace are:
- Chatting with coworkers
Unfortunately, these are inevitable in a modern business, and it might seem that the modern workday is designed to destroy individual focus. Good news is that it is possible to eliminate (or at least reduce) some of them. The best way to do it is by keeping track of your workers’ productive time - which websites they visit, which apps they use, how productive they are, and so on.
And the best news is that there are remote employee monitoring software that can help you with that.
Cut Them Some Slack
It’s impossible, and you shouldn’t even abolish all daily meetings or forbid employees from talking to each other. But, there are other office distractions you can minimize.
A survey conducted by Ask.com showed that the majority of US workers (61%) agree that loud or annoying colleagues are their main office distraction. 27% of them agreed that cubicle workspace is their biggest downer, while 38% of all respondents said they’d rather perform some mundane or hard tasks than sit next to their boss.
You can provide good headsets to all employees, so those who are getting distracted by the coworkers can play some motivating or relaxing music. Cubicles are more private, and they might seem like they’re making your employees productive. But the reality is that they’re depressing, and employees rarely talk to each other over the “wall”. Open space might seem more distracting, but your employees will be much happier.
Additionally, unless you own a startup and have a very good, friendly, relationship with your workers - don’t sit next to them. There’s no need for you to look over their shoulders.
Be Present and Involved
Group-oriented workplace fosters creativity, bonding and motivation, however, in many cases it can cut down the efficiency.
The key is to find the right balance between strict and laid-back office atmosphere. The environment you’ll create in your office depends on the type of work you’re doing, but also on your workers. Not all people are the same, and your more introverted employees might feel intimidated in an open office, or would find it better to work at home. On the other hand, extroverts won’t enjoy the cubicles.
It’s important you talk to your employees, see what works for them, what doesn’t, until you find an optimal solution. Take time to find out their preferences, and combine their wishes with the data you’re collecting using an employee tracking software which keeps track of their time.