September 26, 2017
Tech Distractions in the Workplace
No one will argue that distractions in the workplace can kill productivity – from excessive cellphone use and gossiping co-workers to internet abuse and cubicle visits. But it’s that little device, the one that is always nearby – in our pocket, on our nightstand, at the dinner table with us or atop our desk at work. That’s the one that is the biggest distraction of all and while technology helps to simplify our lives, for many employers, it’s killing productivity.
Life as we knew it a decade or so ago, no longer exist. Things have changed drastically since cellphones came into existence and more so now that our smartphones are smarter than ever before. Just last year, dscout, reported that the average cellphone user tapped, swiped, typed or clicked 2,617 times a day. That’s almost three hours a day which implies that employees are spending at least some time at work with personal devices in hand.
While we can’t avoid all distractions – emails, slack chats, meetings, the loud co-worker, we can minimize some of them and many companies are doing just that by implementing policies that either prohibit or limit cellphone use in the workplace. By removing this particular type of distraction, employers decrease the amount of time being spent on messaging apps, social media and other sites that are in no way related to their employees work. Another option being explored are “no-tech” days in which there is no email and or internal instant messaging communication happening. The idea is that there is more time for employees to just focus on pending projects or other pressing matters without the repetitive interruptions.
While neither of these measures are fool-proof, they may help in creating more productivity and better time management. For some, these tactics work, for others, not so much. Policing workers without managing their expectations can make an office feel oppressive but encouraging official breaks can be a healthier way to nudge employees to stay focused during work hours. If you want your staff to spend more time thinking about work and less time being distracted by outside sources, be the example. Then start monitoring what’s happening in your office before making any official changes to ensure you take a course of action that best suits the needs of the company and its employees.