How to Train Your Employees to Combat Distractions

Everyone gets distracted at work. We take breaks from intense projects, use diversions to help us refocus, but everyone has times when these tangents go on for too long. When it comes to helping employees get back on track, however, companies tend to apply the same solutions to different problems, and that doesn’t always work in the modern business world. Instead, the solution should take into account the different reasons your employees could be distracted, specifically focusing on the individual problem at hand. 

Let Them Work

Workplace distractions aren’t the result of off-task activities while nobody's looking; more often than not, they are the by-product of intraoffice interruptions. According to a recent survey by CareerBuilder, some of the most prominent office distractions employees have little control over include:

●      42% of workers are distracted by employee gossip.

●      24% of employees are distracted by noisy coworkers.

●      25% of team members are distracted by meetings.

Reduce the number of daily or weekly meetings and discourage coworker interruptions to increase the amount of actual working time. The less time employees spend talking, the more time they have to get things done. 

Integrate Them Into the Schedule

Not all distractions are created equal. Sometimes employees fall prey to disruptions because continuing to work with tunnel vision wouldn’t allow them to make real progress on projects - they need these interruptions. Focusing on a single task for too long can actually decrease performance day-over-day, much in the same way that longer hours at work increased productivity. 

Provide employees with planned breaks to help reduce minor distractions. Research shows that the best formula for productivity is to work for 52 minutes, then take a 17-minute break. Your company’s own routine doesn’t have to be that exactly, but the general idea of the plan would be to allow your employees regular breaks at the office in order to refresh their minds so they are more productive in-house (which is good for them and you).

Ease Their Worries

There are some distractions that are much harder for company leadership to address. While you simply can’t fix the team’s personal problems, that doesn’t mean you can’t provide avenues so they can develop tools to solve them on their own. Financial problems, for example, don’t go away overnight, but they can affect how employees work. Consider offering financial wellness programs which help alleviate some of these issues. A recent study revealed that: 

●      Almost 60% of employees are stressed and distracted by their financial worries.

●      37% of employees believe their financial issues lower their productivity at work.

●      25% of employees have missed work because of the stress of their financial problems.  

Office distractions can come from all kinds of places, and so your solutions need to fit the problem. Whether they’re distracted by their environment, their work cycles, or their own problems, good managers need to be proactive about getting these distractions out of the way however they see fit. And with the right solution in place, there’s no reason everyone at your company can’t work at a steady clip.

Need help establishing a new work routine? Then take a demo of Visibility Software’s Cyber Train, a learning management system, that can help you increase productivity by improving the employee development process.

Bio: Sean Pomeroy

While selling other companies software solutions, Sean worked with Michael Warden to design over a dozen applications for different organizations and industries over the years. Sean now focuses on the vision for the company, business development, and continues involvement in the software design of Cyber Recruiter, applicant tracking system and Cyber Train, learning management system. Want to see what Visibility Software has to offer? Take a demo now.

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Tweet me at @VisSoft

Views: 146

Comment by Katrina Kibben on December 31, 2015 at 11:36am

So, you put the pitch in at the end so I have to ask: how, exactly, is software supposed to help people with inter-office drama? You didn't cite a single distraction that can be "fixed" or even addressed by software. 


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