Technology empowers us to increase productivity in many ways, but it is also the most notable area in which productivity can seemingly vanish into, like the internet for example, the single biggest distraction in the workplace according to a number of widely cited studies on the subject.
Although distractions are an integral part of life, one which we wouldn’t choose to do without even if we could because to do so would limit our lives exponentially, they do need to be minimised at times, and in places, with the workplace a prime example of an environment in which distractions should be minimised as much as possible.
Along with the internet, the telephone is another prime example of a distraction that inhibits productivity. Whilst we could not do without this important business tool, at times it seems as though it is more of a hindrance than a help, especially when we are busy, or working on something important, and don’t wish to be disturbed.
There are, however, solutions at hand which you can utilise, like apps designed to help you block out distractions by, for instance, preventing your employees from accessing certain websites, or the internet at all, as well as services such as message taking and overflow call handling, two of many services provided by Message Direct, one of the first call centres established here in the UK.
Why employees waste time at work
Distractions aside, employees will, generally speaking and not always intentionally, waste time in the workplace in some way or another. This is an important aspect of the workplace productivity-distraction debate to take into account, because even if you succeeded in reducing time wasting distractions in the workplace you would still be affected by this trend.
The annual ‘Wasting Time at Work’ survey conducted by salary.com last year found that 89 percent of all respondents admitted to wasting time at work on a daily basis, with 61 percent of those admitting to wasting half an hour to an hour each day on non-work related activities.
However, there is more to consider here, especially seeing that meetings are considered to be a top timewaster, right up there with non-work related Google searches and Facebook. Meetings are therefore also a distraction, one that can be minimised by cutting to the chase and simply sending an email, a text message, or making a phone call, when something needs to be discussed.
With a seemingly never ending barrage of emails to answer and meetings to attend – often simultaneously – there is little wonder that many employees struggle to get any work done, or why many seem so frazzled from multitasking and are unable to focus on their core tasks at work, the tasks that they are primarily employed to perform.
“It is an epidemic,” says Lacy Roberson, one of eBay’s directors of learning and organisational development, who spoke earnestly of the impossibility of getting any “work done on a daily basis, with all these things coming at you.” And with workplace distractions arising on average every three minutes, combined with the (on average) 23 minutes it takes for a worker to return to full concentration on the original task, that any work gets done in the modern workplace at all is quite astonishing.
How reducing distractions can help you to boost revenue
Whilst the most obvious way in which revenue can be boosted as a result of reducing distractions in the workplace is by increasing the amount of time that employees spend on their work instead of on non-work related activities like social media, there is, however, more to this, much more in fact.
As academic studies on the subject have proven time and time again, when someone really loves what he or she does, and works in a comfortable, enjoyable work environment, they are much more productive, they are much more likely to put in a greater effort, and even care about the company they work for.
These factors complement each other and have the effect of boosting revenues for the company by way of the employee’s enhanced productive work effort, provided that the general business climate, economic markets, consumer demand, and all the other important contributing factors that are required, are healthy and in alignment.
Increasing employee productivity by reducing distractions
If employee productivity can be increased as a result of reducing distractions in the workplace, then it is naturally in every employer’s best interests to look at ways in which workplace distractions can be satisfactorily reduced. Some of the following suggestions will not prove suitable for your company and the way your place of work operates, though hopefully you will find others to be food for thought.
- Have your employees step outside the office if they need to make a personal call. When employees have to stand up and leave their workstations to make a non-work related phone call, they generally tend to make far fewer calls because the time they spend away from their work, by leaving their workstation, becomes much more visible.
- Have your employees cease using the speaker phone unless they have a private office and can converse without distracting their colleagues around them. A high percentage of employees surveyed cited listening to a colleague converse on a speaker phone to be a major workplace distraction.
- Utilise call handling and message taking services when your employees are busy working on something important and should not be disturbed. Message Direct provides cost-effective and flexible telephone answering services that could be just what you need to reduce the distraction presented by phones that need to be answered, therefore helping your employees to better concentrate on their core tasks.
Successfully reducing distractions in the workplace can help you to boost revenues by increasing employee productivity. Whilst no business owner will ever be able to eliminate workplace distractions completely, it is inherently feasible to reduce them to the point where their employees are able to completely focus upon their core tasks by giving them their undivided attention.