No more distractions

No more distractions

CLAIRE RENCKEN explores some helpful tips for maximising the quality of your employees’ work in a world of digital distractions, such as social media

Today’s world is full of distractions. Before you know it, your employees may have wasted hours on the clock. In order to understand your employees and their overall level of productivity, you have to first put yourself in their shoes.

You need to consider all of the distractions and issues they’re dealing with, and then develop a plan for mitigating these issues and enhancing their focus on delivering results for your company.

While you can’t physically control your employees and subordinates, you can encourage them to be more engaged and productive. Put yourself in their shoes and think about what distracts and holds them back.

Some things will be company- or location-specific, but generally speaking, the following distractions are quite common across the board.

• Personal issues: As an employer, the most challenging distractions to overcome are ones that are personal in nature. These include relationship issues, conflicts, parenthood, divorce, household conflicts, personal finance and other related matters. These are troubling because you have to know when to step in and when to overlook certain situations. Getting too involved could land you in trouble with the human resources department. Not doing anything at all could render an employee unproductive.

• Social media: For all of the great things social media has done for businesses, it’s also brought a lot of harm and distraction along with it. Practically speaking, social media is a massive productivity killer. It’s always there waiting to be used and frequently takes employees away from their work.

• Mobile devices: Mobile devices are also major distractions. Whether employees are monitoring social media sites, texting, making phone calls, playing games, or accessing apps, smartphones and tablets can sometimes be more of a distraction than an aide.

• Office environment factors: Finally, you have to look at the environmental factors of your office. Is your workplace conducive to productivity, or does it easily distract employees? For example, do your employees work in an open-plan setting where everyone is in a single room, or do they have the ability to close their doors and work in silence?

There are many different methods for maximising productivity. Here are three helpful tips that may point you in the right direction:

1. Start the day off right

The key is to set the tone at the beginning of each day. You do this by making sure employees understand that showing up on time isn’t optional or appreciated – it’s mandatory.

2. Provide economic incentives across the board

Money talks. If you want to get the attention of your employees, start a programme that rewards productivity with financial incentives.

3. Have a firm device policy

Consider distributing your own devices, so that you can control what can be accessed. You can block social networking sites and prevent third-party downloads, among other things.

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