Every year, distractions cost businesses massive amounts of lost productivity. These productivity losses can have particularly devastating effects for pharmaceutical and biotech companies, which depend on getting new drugs or equipment to market quickly.
A certain amount of wasted time is inevitable. However, you want to make sure that you are creating an environment with as minimal distractions as possible and one that helps people return to task quickly.
While there is only so much you can personally do to keep your employees focused, it is essential to remember that management’s actions will significantly affect the rest of the team. It is best to lead by example, as they say. Beyond that? Keeping the following in mind will help.
Present Does Not Have to Mean “In Office”
Some managers hold the mistaken belief that work will only get done when someone is sitting behind their desk. In many cases, people can be more distracted in the office. Of course, this will not work out for every profession – it will likely be more comfortable for a sales or marketing team member to work from home than a research scientist, for example. However, by allowing people to have benefits, including flexible work hours, you can significantly increase productivity levels.
Beyond this, it is essential to encourage employees to use their vacation time and take sick days when needed. Enabling your team to take time away from work helps ensure that people do not burn out, which can quickly lead to issues with motivation and attention.
Meetings Should Be Strategic
I know it can seem like having a meeting is being productive, but you should never schedule a meeting for the sake of holding a meeting. There should always be a purpose or task at hand for discussion. Regular meetings can drain a team’s motivation and make it difficult for them to feel engaged or pay attention. Going into meetings with a preset agenda is an excellent way to keep people focused and distractions to a minimum. To that end, do not feel like you have to use up the whole hour if everything on the agenda is complete within the first fifteen minutes.
Technology Is Not Always Your Friend
With Slack, Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, Skype, and everything else under the sun, this technology to help us be efficient is, in reality, an enormous cause of daily distractions. Ask employees to mute personal notifications during the day. You may also want to encourage employees to mute professional notifications after work hours (as much as possible, anyway). The break from all of the messages after work will help keep people going into the office each morning refreshed and ready to tackle the tasks at hand.
As always, I welcome any comments or questions!
The Alpine Group