In this era there is no dearth of distractions at work. You can blame it on social media addiction which bombards the employees with constant Facebook notifications, text messages, Snapchat notifications and emails, or on loud, noisy and talkative employees vying for attention; but the truth remains the same-the productivity of your organization suffers big time. A study revealed that, on an average, a typical worker in the office is interrupted every 11 minutes and it takes around 25 minutes to regain focus on work. To some extent, distractions are unavoidable and can be tolerated but constant interruptions can severely mess up your team’s ability to reach goals. On top of that, distracted employees never have enough time to recharge themselves and perform tasks with their full potential. As an employer, if you see distractions gradually taking a strong hold of your team, leaving it utterly unproductive or inefficient, take immediate measures to eliminate them before they cripple your team completely. Here are a few strategies that you can take up.
1. Figure Out the Causes of Distraction
Firstly, you need to understand the causes of distraction in your organization. This, however, differs from employee to employee and needs to be handled strategically. Sometimes, there are conflicts and disagreements among employees which keep them distracted. As an employer, you can give them time off for resolving their differences. If such strategies do not work, you can always take a stricter action to keep distractions at bay. Whatever be the reason, it’s almost always possible to turn around employees and enhance their productivity.
2. Understand the Aspirations of Your Employees
Every employee has his own personal and professional goals which often do not align with the objectives and aspirations of your organization. It’s the job of managers to thoroughly analyze their needs and aspirations, and align them with company goals. An employee having the assurance of professional growth will naturally be more attentive and focused for work. Organizations need to take care of employees’ individual goals for ensuring their undivided attention and dedication at work.
3. Keep Your Employees Engaged
If you want your employees to fight their distractions and devote their full attention to work, you need to assign them appropriate work that utilizes their skillset and keeps them engaged. As an employer it’s your responsibility to assign the right job to the employees to ensure productivity and engagement in your team. Give them targets that keep them busy and interested. Promoting a culture of learning is also helpful because an individual keen to learn is seldom distracted by superficial things. Provide them with new opportunities to prove themselves and encourage them to gain more industry knowledge.
4. Discuss the Issue with Your Employees
Employees are often unaware of the fact that they are being constantly distracted. It’s important to have an open discussion with your employees about the same so that you can understand the reasons behind the issue. Also discuss how such issues are impacting the performance of their co-workers and the business. If the problem is concerned with a particular employee, his immediate reporting manager can initiate the discussion with him.
5. Change Roles
Sometimes employees are distracted because they lose interest in the task that they have been assigned. Engaging them in cross-functional projects can help revive their interest. Such opportunities can also help the managers re-evaluate the roles of employees and, if required, change their roles to better utilize their skillset. Employers can also arrange skill enhancement trainings to help employees perform and engage better.
6. Avoid Unnecessary Meetings
Meetings are unavoidable, that’s for sure, but many meetings are often unnecessarily time consuming and distract the employees, engrossed in their work, for no good reason. It’s important to keep a balance with regard to meetings. Holding good and purposeful meetings are important for which you need to appoint a good leader to keep the meeting on point, decide on a time limit, and record actionable items. Avoid unnecessary meetings that waste time and create unwanted confusions and anxiety, and let your workforce concentrate on their work.
Distractions are inevitable at work but the employer and the employees can collectively work to minimize them and stay focussed. As an employer, all you need is a strategic approach for identifying and eliminating distractions.