By: Allbusiness
Special Content

1. Noise Level

Open-plan offices fit well with today’s emphasis on collaborative work, and being able to collaborate is one thing that employees value. However, open spaces can be noisy, especially if workers are squeezed close together as they may be if a small business is trying to save on space. In addition to distracting workers, noise can make talking on the phone to customers or clients more difficult as people on both ends of the call strain to hear. Filtering out background noise is mentally tiring, sapping employees’ productivity.

Solution: Take steps to minimize noise. Carpeting hard floors or putting down rugs will help absorb noise, as will window coverings, plants, sound-absorbing ceiling tiles and even wall decor. Basically, the more hard surfaces in your location, the noisier it will be; adding softer elements will bring the noise level down

2. Tech Tools

While technology has made our jobs a lot easier in some ways, the study finds it’s still got a long way to go. Just 38 percent of employees in the survey say they have all the tools they need to do their jobs, and only 36 percent say the devices they use when away from the office work seamlessly with workplace technology. This adds to frustration over distractions: Employees may try to get work done in a coffee shop or at home because the office is too noisy, but find that they lack the tools to work effectively anywhere else.

Solution: Make sure your employees have the proper tech tools they need to get their jobs done wherever they are. If your employees work remotely, for example, or travel frequently on business, provide them with technology to use on the go. If employees prefer to use their own devices, as many do, try to find apps that work with multiple platforms or with the platforms that most employees use.

3. Constant Connectivity

Constant connection via devices and technology is another factor contributing to distraction. Higher-level employees are more likely to feel the pressure to be constantly “on.” Collaboration technologies that indicate when people are on a social network or chat app can contribute to the belief that people are always available to be interrupted. There’s also a gap between expectations and reality: While only one-fourth of executives say they frequently expect employees to be available after hours, nearly half of employees think their supervisors expect this kind of responsiveness. More than one-third of respondents in the survey say they feel compelled to check their devices frequently due to social pressure and fear of missing something.

Solution: Set limits on connectivity. Try actually getting up and talking to each other instead of conducting every communication via electronic device. Make sure employees know what is and isn’t expected of them regarding responsiveness.

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By: Rieva Lesonsky


Twitter: @Allbusiness