Productivity is vital for the success and longevity of a business. Unfortunately, employees will struggle to be productive and stay on track if they’re distracted. In this post, we’ll take a look at a few common workplace distractions — from employees experiencing personal issues, such as divorce, to the overuse of social media — and how to fix them.
Although technology has become one of the most essential resources in the business world, the efficiency and hard work of employees is still very much the bread and butter of any company. It’s for this reason that it’s vital to make sure that your team is focused, productive and motivated on a daily basis — all of which can prove to be a problem if your employees are regularly distracted.
There is a wide range of things that distract employees, and many are specific to the industry or sector they work in, but, in this post, we’ll be discussing the issues that are commonplace in many businesses.
The Internet and Social Media
Let’s start with the big one! While there’s no doubt that the internet is a godsend for modern companies — especially those in eCommerce and marketing — it can also be a huge distraction for employees. The majority of companies — if not all — use computers in some way, and when employees have access to online shopping, blogs and YouTube, they can quickly find themselves in a rabbit hole — and work takes the back seat.
Not only does endless scrolling through timelines and feeds destroy productivity, but many also use social media to chat with their friends. This becomes a bigger issue with smartphones making internet and social media access so simple — more than half of people (52%) now use a mobile device to access the internet.
The problem for many employers is that they can’t take away internet access, as this will hinder their team’s ability to work. However, time-tracking and productivity apps, such as Hubstaff, monitor employee activity and time spent working. If your staff have to turn off their timer to use social media, they simply won’t get paid — it’s an effective deterrent.
No matter how professional or motivated an employee is, personal problems can severely impact their ability to work efficiently. The death of a family member or friend, as well as stressful situations like money problems, are issues that can’t be fixed overnight. If an employee is clearly struggling, it’s crucial that they take the necessary time off work, with the reassurance that it won’t affect their position at the company.
One of — if not the most — common personal problems that affects the workplace is divorce. The breakdown of any relationship can be stressful, but this is amplified when the division of marital assets comes into play, and it’s easy to see why a person’s career can take a big hit. During this time, an employee's most valuable ally will be their family lawyer, however, you can add yourself to that list by providing assistance and support.
Compared to the two previous points, this may seem trivial. However, when employees go outside to smoke a cigarette and have a quick chat, it takes time out of their working day and interrupts everyone else. It may only seem like a five or ten-minute break, but, over long periods, this adds up, culminating in a shocking amount of time being wasted.
Nicotine is very addictive, and preventing smokers from popping out for a cigarette could actually make productivity worse — your employees will feel grouchy and morale could plummet. Some employers have tackled the issue by allowing their employees to use e-cigarettes at work. If you have been keeping up with vaping news as of late, you will be aware that the NHS has included e-cigarettes as a healthier alternative in its quit smoking campaign.
Although meetings are undoubtedly useful for relaying information, some companies fall into the habit of holding meetings out routine, rather than necessity. Team or company-wide meetings not only take time out of everyone’s day, but, in many cases, the discussion point could just as easily be sent by email.
If you’ve noticed that meetings tend to kill productivity in the workplace, it’s crucial to fix the problem. Raising topics in a memo not only saves time, but it also provides you and your team with a written record that can be referred to. For items that must be discussed in person, an alternative is to host concise one-on-one catch-ups with employees to discuss the points relevant to them. While you’re hosting a meeting with one employee, the rest can crack on with what they’re supposed to be doing — work.