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These Are the Biggest Distractions for Your Employees in 2019

Workforce distractions are a serious problem for employees. According to a 2018 survey by the online learning platform Udemy, 70 percent of workers report feeling distracted on the job, and 54 percent think distractions limit the quality of their performance. What has them so distracted, and what can you do to help your team get back on track?

So Much Socialization

Talkative co-workers are a top distraction for 80 percent of employees. Workplace gossip, people dropping by unannounced to chat and being asked questions repeatedly throughout the day all make it difficult to focus on tasks. Employees need to have the option to work in private and to know you won’t chide them for not being team players if they ask their co-workers to leave them alone.

Smartphones add to the problem with social media, messaging apps, texts and emails blaring notifications at employees almost constantly. Millennials report spending as long as two hours on their phones per day while at work.

Noisy Neighbors

Office noise is a particularly big problem in companies with “open plan” offices. Once thought to be a boon for collaboration, recent reports show the setup and its associated distractions cause workers to lose 86 minutes of productive time every day, which is over 28 hours a month. It’s no wonder 70 percent of employees cite noise as their biggest distraction, and 30 percent try to drown it out by listening to music. You can deal with this by re-establishing private offices or cubicles, offering alternative workspaces and setting reasonable noise limits.

All Those Meetings

Meetings make the top of the distraction list for 60 percent of employees. Preparing for meetings takes up valuable work time, and it’s likely your team will default to smaller, less important tasks when meetings interrupt periods they would otherwise use for deep work. Many employees say having designated “no meeting” days would be a big help.

Reduce Distractions to Help Your Company

Fifty-seven percent of employees who responded to the Udemy survey reported feeling more motivated after distractions were addressed, and 49 percent were happier at work. An impressive 75 percent said they were more productive, which may be due in part to a reduction in errors and less time spent redoing tasks.

Try making these simple changes in your office to help your team get focused:

• Offer time management training
• Create quiet workspaces
• Allow employees to work from home
• Consider flexible scheduling
• Encourage employees to learn new skills

Above all, keep the lines of communication open so that employees can come to you for assistance if interruptions become overwhelming.

When workforce distractions are reduced or removed from the office, your team has the freedom to concentrate on their jobs and reach their full potential. Creating an environment with as few distractions as possible may require rethinking some ideas about the office layout, meeting schedules and the nature of collaboration, but you’ll be rewarded with a more productive workforce and a stronger company as a result.

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Categories: Business Topics

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