Is digital distraction harming your business? This common office ailment saps productivity, increases stress, and redefines the very essence of ‘work’. Here’s how to spot if it’s happening in your office.
1) Default always on
When you walk round the office, most people have email open on their computer screen. They allow near constant interruptions, and instead of completing tasks in a focused and productive way, divert their attention every few minutes to respond to whatever demands come in.
2) Reply to all
The culture in your office is to cc people in to emails. People who don’t need to know anything about a certain issue spend time reading about it, and get distracted from what they were doing. Instead of walking across and talking to someone nearby, people tend to send them an email.
3) On call workers
You send an email out of hours – for example on a Saturday – not intending for the recipient to reply until Monday. They reply almost instantly. Workers are ‘on call’, rather than using the weekend to restore their energy. If you want your employees to be energised, full of ideas, and ready to go again come Monday morning, tell them to switch off at the weekend.
4) Dragging their heels
Productivity in your office has gone down. You don’t feel like you are getting the best out of people. Workers seem exhausted, stressed, and always busy, yet the right things aren’t getting done.
5) Sick of it
Sickness, stress, and poor performance are a problem. The names for this come in various forms, but ‘burnout’ is something you’re worried about. People keep mentioning information overload and feel like they can’t keep up.
6) On the agenda
In meetings, smartphones sit on the meeting table. People think nothing of sending messages or reading their emails while someone else is talking. Key points do not register and people don’t listen properly. After a meeting, people rush back to their desks to reply to yet more emails.
7) Zero inspiration
No-one is bringing you any good ideas. Distracted, bitty thinking takes over from deep thinking and reflection in a climate where distraction is the norm. If you’re distracted every 10 minutes, no wonder there’s no time to develop ideas. Ideas need time to form. Encourage your employees to switch off, as, chances are, they’ll have a bright idea when they’re walking, being creative, or focused on something else.
8) Headline goes here
Mistakes are being made. People send an attachment forgetting to attach the attachment, or reply all instead of just reply, or send an email to the wrong person. They blame their bad memory for not carrying out tasks they were asked to do. You’ve noticed errors have started to creep in to written documents and simple tasks. Quality is suffering. And yet, everything is taking far longer …
9) The endless task
People spend far too long completing a task. Endless time is spent searching for things – through email inboxes, or on the Internet, as people get distracted from what they were doing and even forget to do what they originally intended. Multitasking is a typical way of working, and people often have multiple tabs and multiple documents open on their screen.
10) Clocking off
No one leaves the office on time. Workers use either end of the day (early morning and the evening) to get on with the core work they should have done during the day. They don’’t get this work done during the day because they are distracted. Job satisfaction is low, stress is high, and people don’t have a good work-life balance.
Sound familiar? If you recognise your office here, get in touch to discuss how we can help. We’ll visit your office and give you methods you can use straight away to make your office a more productive place.