By Mark Kirkpatrick
When it comes to performing at our very best at work, the last thing anyone needs is distraction. While some employees can be easily thrown off by street or building construction, instantly sending them off balance, unscheduled meetings or frequent phone calls may be detrimental to the productivity of others.
Regardless of how productive your employees are, they are still subject to disruptions at one point or another. What types of distractions kill productivity? And what you can do you about it?
Types of Disruptions
There are many things that can disrupt a normally productive workplace:
1. The workplace environment. Many offices pride themselves in having a fun, open environment. However, not everyone works best in a group setting. According to a study by NewAsk.com, the majority of people actually accomplish more when they are allowed to work alone. Making sure every employee has the opportunity to work in a quiet environment can really help raise productivity.
2. The layout of your office. In addition to noise, the actual floor plan of the office can have a huge impact on the work environment, which can directly affect output levels as well. Studies have shown that younger colleagues prefer to work in a newsroom-type setting, whereas older employees prefer sitting and working solo. Depending on the type of business you are running, an open room may make your employees more productive, but in other businesses, it could actually hurt it.
3. The neighbouring workers. Unfortunately, no matter how you set up an office, there is a chance that a quiet worker will end up with noisy neighbours. To help reduce this distraction, set up an internal messaging system for communicating during work hours.
4. The management. Believe it or not, you may actually be hindering the work flow in your office. How is that? According to Ask.com’s previously mentioned study, 38 per cent of workers claim that they prefer having to do more work than sitting next to their boss. Apparently, being too close for comfort can make employees nervous and tense, reducing the quality and quantity of work.
5. Too many meetings. It should be no surprise that meetings take away from the daily routine. However, meetings that run too long may actually lead to an energy drain, which leaves employees less motivated to continue working once the meeting is over. If there are clients coming in and out of the office unexpectedly and requesting meetings, try to keep the meetings short. In addition, if a client is expected to come into the office for a meeting, make sure to have an outline prepared to prevent time from being wasted.
While it may be impossible to completely change the way your employees work, there are measures you can take to help make them more productive:
1. Be a good example. As the boss, it’s important for you to be a great leader. Do not simply encourage your employees to be more productive; show them how to maintain focus by doing it yourself. Managing your time wisely and reducing stress will help make you, as well as your employees, more productive.
2. Limit what you are focused on. Instead of trying to get everything done all at once, stop and focus on one or two important tasks at a time. Communicate with your employees about the priority tasks that need to get done each day and plan the day out accordingly (this includes meetings).
3. Take breaks. Taking breaks throughout the day can actually help workers, and yourself, regain focus. A brief break can help clear the mind and gather productive energy. A break can be transitional between projects or even in the midst of a large task.
4. Supply the right tools. Give your employees the right tools that will empower them and make them want to stay productive, such as providing each employee with their own desk calendar. Encourage them to learn more about time management, writing skills, stress reduction, etc. You can conduct them as group seminars to boost team morale.
5. Celebrate the little things. Praising your employees when they accomplish something will help boost morale. Acknowledging even the smallest accomplishment can help increase confidence and inspire your workers to do even better.
Distractions can pop up everywhere you look. After all, that’s what they do best! By being aware of what the distractions are in your company, you can do your best to minimise them. For a business, productivity should be a priority, therefore you should implement the best practices to ensure that you are getting your employees’ best foot forward.
Today’s guest blogger is Mark Kirkpatrick, who is honoured to have shared some tips on how to increase productivity within the workplace with Strawberry Communications blog readers. He is an enthusiastic writer with a passion in business communications, and you may find more of his writing on 1800NumberNow.com’s blog.