You hire the best employees with high hopes that they will be focused, productive and consistently on task? You might be out of luck, according to a study by psychiatrist Dr. Ned Hallowell. The most intelligent people are easily distracted at work.
So what is causing the workforce to become more distracted? And how often are the intelligent people getting their attention torn away from their work?
Monster.com recently surveyed 10,000 workers in 17 different countries to find out just how distracted people are. The results? Employees are distracted once every three minutes on average.
To get to the bottom of what’s causing the distractions, Monster.com went on the streets of New York to talk to the general public. Here’s what they say are some of the top distractors in the workplace.
Perhaps it’s no surprise that several respondents said social media is a major distractor. It’s easy to get hooked on looking at what others are up to outside of the workplace.
Videos, articles, cat gifs and friend updates can suck a person’s attention away from the job at hand. To help keep your best employees focused, limit the amount of time they can spend on social media. It might not be possible to totally ban social media access from your business (especially for your marketing department) but it is helpful to limit the amount of time a person spends looking at Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter.
In Office Systems
One woman said that her top distractors were the in-office systems that make being productive more difficult.
Project management systems, inefficient scheduling systems and just about any other system you might have in place could easily steal from your employee’s attention. Reducing the need for burdensome tasks could help boost your team’s productivity. One way to do this is to update the technology you use. For example, if you’re still using Excel spreadsheets to create your schedules, you might see a steep increase in productivity by switching to scheduling software.
Not Having Enough Rules in Place
An entrepreneur on the video said that he sometimes missed having rules or guided next steps to take in his job. If you leave a lot of responsibility on your employees, they could be feeling this same distraction creep into their workdays.
There’s a healthy balance between providing direction to your team and keeping the rules too strict. Give your employees flexibility to work the way they are most productive but don’t stretch the limits too much or you could see them become more distracted than efficient.
Deciding What to Eat
Some people said they got distracted by looking at what was in the vending machine to snack on or trying to figure out what to have for lunch. This might seem a little ridiculous but it can take a lot of mental energy away from the work at hand.
Too Many Distractions?
It’s impossible to completely eliminate distractions in the workplace. For example, you can’t stop people from thinking about their next meal. The best thing you can do as a boss is try to create an environment where common distractions aren’t as easy to come by.
Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Atlas Business Solutions was named as one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies in 2004 through 2007 and again in 2010, 2013 and 2014