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Five infuriating office distractions and what you can do about them

A loudly boiling kettle, a peculiar laugh, boiler on the blink… These can all cause annoyance and distraction amongst your workforce and limit productivity.

Business owners are always on the lookout for ways to increase efficiency within the workforce. Let’s take a look at five of the top distractions that may inhibit productivity, and investigate what you can do about them.

1. Phones

Although these are unavoidable, you can control the volume. Loud phone conversations can be distracting to other employees. If your office has the space, or a spare room, why not consider creating a ‘phone booth’? This would provide a place for people to go and take phone calls without distracting others. Another idea is to allow your employees to wear headphones when they feel distracted. These can help them remain focused by blocking out any unwanted noise.

2. Meetings

If you find yourself in more meetings than necessary, you leave little time for real action. Question whether the meeting is needed and invite only those for whom it would be relevant. Agendas are also a life-saver – if it’s not on the agenda, don’t discuss it.

3. Constant emails

Closing your emails for an hour can encourage you to switch off and focus on the task at hand. Many people feel as though they must respond to emails as soon as they enter their inbox, so keep to a response time that you can stick to consistently. Turn off email push notifications too. Having these pop up every few minutes in your line of sight is sure to be a big distraction.

4. Tea rounds

This is dependent on many factors: where the kitchen is, how many people are in the office, the complexity of drinks orders etc. Shouting tea orders across the office can be distracting for all, so a top tip of ours is to make a list of everyone’s tea and coffee orders and stick it up in the kitchen.

5. Office gossip

It is great that staff can socialise and form friendships. This will of course lead to chatting which again will normally be fine – to an extent. Keep an eye on it though as too much talking amongst friends will obviously see productivity take a hit between them. It will probably be distracting to others too. Chatting can also turn into gossip which can quickly degenerate into a poisonous atmosphere. In any training programme, make it clear that bullying and misconduct at work are unacceptable. You don’t want a culture of gossiping and rumours. Instead, focus on creating a culture of being friendly but professional.

There are bound to be many that we have missed. Let us know your biggest office annoyance in the comments below!

The HR Dept can help you create a harmonious and happy workforce. Just give us a call!