Employees are not working 100% of the time they’re on the clock. It doesn’t take research to know this is true because managers in every industry witness this every day with their own eyes. Some are even enablers of unproductive behavior. Distractions are here to stay, but with a few changes to your corporate culture, you can diminish them to acceptable levels.
Americans make the most of their days. We work longer and take fewer vacations than ever before, and we have an endless list of to-dos and unfinished projects. It’s no wonder that sleep deprivation is costing the economy more than $63 billion in lost productivity. Your employees are tired, and if you’re on your third cup of coffee by 11 a.m. there’s a good chance that you are, also. Managers have a choice. They can ignore the drooping eyes and yawn chains, or they can implement some of these ideas:
- Remind your employees to use their vacation time. Make it mandatory if necessary.
- Set up workshop sessions or therapy programs for insomniacs.
- Increase natural and artificial lighting in your workspace.
We could all use more sleep, and by simply identifying sleep deprivation, it points you in the right direction to regain some of the lost productivity.
Aiming for the High Score
You may not know what the hot new mobile game is, but your employees do. When you think they’re working on that report – they’re really trying to find the best finger trajectory to knock over those evil pigs (Angry Birds). You might not ever win the battle against mobile games, but what you can do is provide an alternative.
Some companies have introduced “game time” into their culture. It allows employees a break from straining their eyes looking at their computer screens, and it increases blood flow by getting them out of their seats. Games can even be used as a tool to determine leadership and management styles. Set guidelines for how game time should fit into employees’ schedules. You don’t want it to become another distraction.
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and dozens of other social media sites are dragging your employee’s focus away with every imaginable update on their friends’ and families’ much more interesting lives. It’s hard to ignore the prevalence of social media in almost every aspect of our lives. However, for managers it can be very frustrating to constantly see employees writing on their Facebook wall.
If you’re not sure how to approach a social media junkie, think about how you can make their addiction work for you. Companies struggle to turn their employees into brand advocates. Some employees don’t even know that their company has a social media presence. For the employees who are active on social media, ask them if they would like to contribute to official company accounts. This doesn’t mean they need to do the work, but they can spend time researching topics or submitting ideas to add to the company’s public image. The company wins by getting an expanded creative pool and access to an employee audience.
Do You Have a Lighter?
We are not asking you to put yourself in between anyone and their cigarettes. Actually, we strongly advise against that. What you can do is provide alternatives that encourage employees to make healthier choices.
- Incentivize quitting smoking with a corporate challenge.
- Improved healthcare benefits for non-smokers.
- Encourage the use of electronic cigarettes.
Implementing these programs will require additional research, but it may be what your company needs. Smokers spend about 50% more time away from their desks than non-smokers, so there is plenty of productivity you can reclaim.
Workplace distractions are not limited to these four. If you’re not sure where the leaks in efficiency are in your company, consider our employee engagement surveys. The data collected is analyzed with ClearPath Analytics, and then we create a unique ClearPath Action performance improvement plan for your organization. To start reducing distractions and reclaim lost productivity, contact us today for a free estimate.