Three key takeaways in reducing workplace distractions:
- Workplace distractions happen, but contrary to popular belief, they aren’t entirely unavoidable
- Identify and determine the root causes of workplace distractions to begin addressing them appropriately
- Consider technology solutions such as contextual mobility management (CMM) to manage mobile usage at the wrong time and place when the distraction can create significant risks.
Most of us assume that workplace distractions are an unavoidable part of being on the job, whether that setting is an office cubicle, a workstation at home, or somewhere in between. And although it’s true that some intrusions can’t be controlled, the assumption that we’re powerless over these distractions sells short our capabilities. You can create a focused and productive work environment!
Reducing Workplace Distractions: Where To Begin
First, consider the root causes of these distractions and how one might begin reducing workplace distractions. Understanding the psychology behind them and then recruiting certain tools – like technology – can clear up a lot of clutter from your day. Break them down like so:
We are social creatures. Chatting, gossip, instant messaging and other non-work-related discussions are bound to wedge their way into the day (and sometimes even lead to work breakthroughs and stronger relationships with colleagues). But when the goal is to stay on task, it’s important to restrict those interactions to certain lengths and times.
We’re talking about kids, partners, pets and chores in work-from-home situations; on, say, the plant floor, they’re things like workplace volume and visual distractions. These diversions aren’t completely within our control, but they can be managed.
If you’re distracted by outside influences, set up blocks of times where you aren’t to be disturbed so you can focus on the project at hand. Don’t check your email, silence your notifications, and, perhaps, look into noise-canceling headphones. If you’re trying to complete your shift notes on a noisy plant floor, consider finding a quieter, less distracting location, especially if you’re working from your mobile device.
The fun stuff! These are both the external and self-imposed distractions like social media, internet browsing, IMs from colleagues and friends, checking email during meetings, and yes, games – pretty much all of the work and non-work-related mobile device usage. These we can keep a lid on if we make an honest effort. (We’re pretty clever when we want to be.)
In fact, for all the distractions technology is capable of creating, it’s equally capable of bringing order to the day while reducing and removing many of the above diversions by paying attention to situational and contextual triggers. In particular, mobile devices and mobility management solutions give us the capability to:
- Reduce external triggers. Consider noise-canceling headphones, away messages, and switching notifications to “off”
- Reduce internal triggers. Try setting calendar reminders and timers that encourage the completion of tasks from start to finish
- Implement focus-forward mobile policies. Employers can (and should!) give workers the tools and space to accomplish their tasks. Using a productivity project management platform gives employees a roadmap and managers peace of mind knowing the status of projects without intervention and interruption.
- Manage mobile device use based on context. With solutions like TRUCE’s Contextual Mobility Management, companies can enforce policy and keep employees’ attention focused on the work at hand by suppressing distracting and potentially dangerous apps, e.g. instant messaging while driving
Workplace distractions, on some level, will always be part of our daily professional existence. But there are a number of solutions at our fingertips to reduce workplace distractions, including the use of context in mobility management technology, that can guide employers to create a more focused work environment and help employees avoid the sort of intrusions that sidetrack. Already using mobile device management (MDM) software? Excellent. CMM, which dynamically changes what a user can access on mobile devices based on the situation, isn’t meant to serve as a replacement for MDM, but to complement it.
You can learn more by watching “Hacking Distraction,” a TRUCE webinar led by Nir Eyal, who instructs how to make your team indistractible. Life comes at us fast, but it doesn’t have to hit all at once. Reduce workplace distractions, optimize productivity and keep your operations humming with seamless mobile software solutions that fit easily into your business.