An office, a place that is created, furnished and equipped to provide those working in it every opportunity for productive activity, often contradicts its purpose. Some employees claim they work long hours or take their work home simply because they cannot concentrate in the busy environment. Moreover, they say that an hour of working in an empty office is worth half a day during the regular working hours.
This is no secret and no wonder, since an office is full of distractions, which, no matter how small and trivial, hinder in focusing on important tasks and sometimes are the reasons for failing important projects or being late for the deadline.
Top distractions at work and ways to beat them
Crowded rooms are definitely hard to work in, but sometimes even one or two talkative colleagues in the room lead to ineffective work. There are also thin walls between the rooms that let through too much noise. However, these are not hard to deal with. A talk with the fellow employee who likes to chat can help restore the needed atmosphere, as well as headphones with the favourite music to keep you focused on your task instead of the latest gossip.
For some employees, answering the phone is part of their job description. Still, sometimes the phone ringing every now and then not only drives one crazy, but also is an obstacle in performing other duties. For other staff members, taking and making personal calls can be a hindrance not only in their progress, but also prevent others from being able to concentrate. The best way out is using voice mail for work-related calls whenever possible and return the calls during the set hours. As to private calls, they should be better made during the break.
Instant messaging and email
Using instant messaging for internal communication between employees, is common for many organisations, and it is really convenient. Still, a new message notification that can pop up any moment can be a threat to the productivity, as well as lengthy chats, even if they are work-related. So, if you’re busy with an urgent task, or doing the job that requires much thought, it is best to switch off notifications about new messages in your messenger and check them afterwards. In the case when the chat is taking too much time, it may be a good idea to discuss the matter in person or over the phone, whatever works best. As to the emails, the best practice would be checking them during the periods of low productivity in bulks, instead of reading and answering each one as soon as it is received.
They are universally considered the biggest distractions from work. While the previous points can be attributed to the environment, social networks are common for office staff, distant workers, freelancers, students etc. Often a person finds it hard to resist the temptation to visit his/her page ‘for a second’, which can easily eat up a bigger part of a working day. While in many offices access to popular social networks websites is blocked, it is not always effective. First, employees still can visit them via their smartphones. Secondly, studies have shown that taking short “social breaks” can do good to a person’s productivity, since it lets the brain rest, especially after working intensively.
Using a time tracking system to prevent social networks abuse
The question that many employers are ready to ask now is ‘How to control the use of social networks?’ Implementing time tracker software in the office lets easily deal with this issue once and for all. This tool records the time spent for all resources on the computer – whether a program, application or a website, and categorises them as productive, unproductive and neutral(uncategorised). All social network websites are unproductive by default, and marked red on the diagram of the daily activity. This way, it is easy to track how much time each employee spends on non-work related matters and take measures if necessary.
Other possible variants exclude the time spent in social networks from the total hours worked or set a daily limit to using such resources.
The advantage of an automatic time tracking system is that it can be used to monitor the work of distant employees and freelancers, which lets make payments only for the time spent for performing work tasks. Moreover, it notes down all breaks and their duration, enabling to react against lengthy absences from the computer without a decent reason.
So why waste time guessing what your employees are doing now? Try Yaware.TimeTracker for free for 14 days and you will not only see the picture of your company employees working days, but also get around 20% productivity boost.