Ways to minimise workplace distractions whilst boosting employee performance and productivity

Alan Price – CEO at BrightHR

July 13 2015

In today’s fast-paced work environment, employees face several challenges in completing important goals that their role requires.  With such challenges, how do you as the employer ensure that your employees stay focussed on the task at hand, without falling foul to common workplace distractions? Everyone experiences periods throughout their day, whereby tiredness sets in due to the perpetual glare of computer screens and the constant stream of emails that demand your attention.  During these episodes, employees can easily be distracted by everyday workplace disruptions including noise levels, heating issues and phones buzzing every minute. Despite these, the biggest distraction of all can be the employee themselves. We can all be our own worst enemy, but within a working environment an employee’s inability stay focussed can directly affect your company’s productivity. When an employee reaches the first signs of tiredness and boredom, their first port of call is the internet. Whether they are checking personal emails, social media accounts or browsing online, surrendering to the allure of the internet can take away precious minutes that should be spent completing important work based tasks. Mobile phones are another prominent distraction, whereby the employee uses work time to make and take personal phone calls. Most employers implement an internet and social media usage policy, stipulating access privileges, online behaviour, and the penalties an employee will incur if the policy is violated. It is your responsibility as the employer to monitor employees’ online activity so any incidences can be dealt with swiftly and effectively. Additionally, ensuring that your policy is up to date regarding chances in technology will help avoid your policy becoming redundant and new problems from occurring. Mobile phone usage for personal calls should be restricted to the employees own time. There are occasions; however when an employee may need to make a call, for example in case of an emergency or personal issue.  In this instance, the employee should make their manager aware of the situation, and a one-to-one agreement can be made. Outside of having policies in place, employers may benefit from encouraging employees to divide time-consuming tasks such as sending emails and making phone calls into more manageable chunks. This will help prevent employees becoming bored and experiencing periods of inattention.  Moreover, it will benefit employees struggling to balance large workloads or multiple tasks. Hopefully, the above information will provide you with a source to help boost productivity, create a more manageable work environment and reduce possible distractions for employees before they reach critical levels.

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