According to a survey conducted by Udemy, workplace distractions negatively impact performance, productivity, and potential. What’s more, to compensate for these interruptions, people work faster. A UC Irvine study shows that this increases stress and frustration. And, even a brief interruption doubles an employee’s error rate.
In short, constant distractions don’t just affect the bottom line. They can also be detrimental to an individual's health.
How can you address these workplace distractions before they become an issue? Below we address 8-12. You can read 1-7 here.
Although you should know what’s going on with your business, being a helicopter boss isn’t just a distraction for your team. They also find it frustrating, unnerving and anxiety-producing.
Instead of encouraging ownership and letting your team do what you hired them to do if you’re continually interrupting them by obsessing over every detail. Just imagine that you’re in the model of a project and your boss barges in pointing out everything that you did incorrectly. How productive do you think you’ll be? Disruptions stifle creativity, self-growth, and destroys the trust between you and your employees.
Giving-up some control is never easy for entrepreneurs. But, you need to let your team do their thing. If you are not a micro-manager, it doesn’t mean thoroughly checking out. It means keeping tabs on everyone and guiding them without interfering with their work throughout the day.
It’s almost impossible to focus when your stomach is growling. Unfortunately, we satisfy this craving with junk food because it’s quick and readily available.
It takes a lot of willpower to avoid the vending machine or call-in a pizza delivery. But, you need healthier options that will eliminate your hunger while keeping you focused and energized.
Stack your office with healthier snack options. For instance, I always have almonds nearby. Whenever I feel famished, I just snack on a handful of almonds. I’ve also started looking into options like Snacknation who will deliver healthy snacks to the office.
10. Needlessly strict policies.
“When it comes to culture, a lot of employers like to enforce a set of policies to encourage employees to arrive on time,” wrote Andre Lovie in a previous Entrepreneur article. “Punctuality is obviously important to consider in order to run a successful organization.”
“However, overly strict policies can be more stress-inducing. If employees are worried and hurry during their traffic-heavy commute, they’re starting off the day on a bad foot,” continued Lovie. “This can hurt overall employee morale, especially for those who travel long distances five days a week. They may be showing up to work already drained and frustrated, as a result.”
If you’re in a leadership position, Lovie suggests that you, “focus more on building a culture that celebrates employees who are productive and ‘A’ players. Strong message employers can send is that punctuality is important, but what’s more important is performance.”
Also, you could offer employees a flex schedule where they can arrive at work later in the morning to avoid the hectic commute. Another option would be allowing them to work remotely occasionally. If you’re an employee, you could ask your boss if any of these are possible resolutions to your hectic commute.
Meetings are notorious for being unproductive and distracting time-suckers. Time is lost because people are pulled away from their work and then forced to sit in a meeting for an hour -- even though they don’t have to be in attendance.
Before scheduling a meeting, think long and hard if it’s necessary. In most cases, you may be able to skip the meeting and communicate with your team via email, Slack, or a project management tool like Trello. If a meeting is needed, only invite critical stakeholders, create an agenda, and keep it as short as possible.
Another option is to set aside one day per week when meetings are not scheduled, such as the famous “No Meeting Wednesday.” Having a day with no meetings each week allows everyone to work on their most important tasks without being interrupted.
12. Decision fatigue
As explained in a New York Times article, “No matter how rational and high-minded you try to be, you can’t decide decision without paying a biological price.” What’s the price? Usually, this is being unable to focus or take action. Just think about how well you can concentrate on a task when you’re mentally exhausted?
The possible fix is to reduce the number of decisions that you make daily. Barack Obama, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg did this by wearing the same outfits every day. Others have found success by prepping their meals for the week, delegating tedious responsibilities, and automating specific tasks like canned email responses and scheduling appointments.