As an entrepreneur, you rely upon your staff to be productive. Productivity, after all, is the backbone of any company. When productivity is high, your business provides better service and you are most likely making more money. But when it is low, or there are distractions among your staff, it can have a big impact not only on productivity, but on customer service, team morale and the overall state of your business.
It’s important to identify what causes the distractions in your office, and to address them before they become a big(ger) problem.
Here are six of the biggest office distractions and what you can do to help alleviate them.
1. The talker: You know this one—the guy who just loves to talk, and talk and, well, talk. He invites himself into the conversation and keeps it going long after everyone else is done. To stop this, be straight with him. Say, “I don’t have time to talk right now; I need to get my work done, but let’s schedule a time at the end of the day.” With this type of problem, don’t set the stage for them to interrupt you. Keep your door closed.
2. The e-mail CC: Being CC'd on an e-mail means that it is something you should be aware of, but you don’t need to respond in any way. Create a rule in your e-mail program so that anything on which you are CC’d goes into a separate folder. That way, they won’t be an ongoing distraction. Later, when you have time, you can skim over those messages so that you're in the loop.
3. Noise with names: Study after study has shown that noise is surely a distraction in the office, but apparently when names are mentioned in the noise it can really throw us off. This is especially true if it is a name we recognize, like that of a friend or, worse, our own. To address this problem, throw some headphones on and listen to some instrumental music (without words) or, better yet, give everyone a set of headphones so that they can listen to whatever music they like—and stop distracting everyone else from doing their work.
4. Temperature troubles: Having it too hot or too cold in the office can be a big distraction. If it is too cold, people are shivering and working more at staying warm than at staying on task. If it’s too hot, they will feel like falling asleep. Find a comfortable temperature for your office and keep it there, despite that one person who wants to be in control of it (every office seems to have one!). Research has shown that the ideal office temperature for maximum productivity is 76 to 77 degrees.
5. Sitting setbacks: Not having a comfortable chair to sit in can be a real problem. After all, your staff is sitting in them probably eight hours per day. They need comfortable chairs, as well as the option to be able to stand up and work, which is better for productivity.
6. Hunger issues: Try to concentrate on anything when you are hungry. Good luck! It isn’t going to happen. To remedy this, keep a supply of snacks and drinks at the ready. It is a smart investment, because the minimal cost affords you people’s concentration and focus.
Chances are, your office has some of these productivity busters taking place. Look around and identify what they are, so that you can address them. The sooner you do, the sooner your staff will stop being distracted and start getting more done each day!