The 10 office productivity killers and how to overcome them
How do you overcome office productivity killers and thrive no matter what? Here are some tips on staying productive at work.
There is a huge difference between being at work and actually working. Yet, staying productive is an even bigger challenge, especially if you spend half of your time battling countless emails and jumping from meeting to meeting. Distractions are unavoidable in the workplace, and not succumbing to the disruptions can be difficult for even the most focused employees.
Employee collaboration in the digital workplace
Problem 1: Noise
Sitting in an open space next to a dozen (or two) of co-workers can feel like trying to work in a beehive. Want it or not, you get to hear everything your co-workers discuss instead of focusing on your tasks.
Solution: Find a quiet spot at the office: book a meeting room for yourself. Block out the noise using earphones: choosing the right music can also boost your productivity.
Problem 2: Internet and social media
Social media and the internet in general can be a huge productivity drain. 65% percent of employees report using the internet during the workday for non-work purposes. Remember the last time you opened a browser to do some work-related research and ended up on Facebook, scrolling through your feed?
Solution: Block out the distractions on the web using browser extensions and add-ons. You can choose from dozens of available options. Plus, this is a great way to practice self-discipline.
Problem 3: Unnecessary meetings
An average office worker attends 62 meetings per month. Half of those meetings are considered a total waste of time, according to Atlassian. Spending hours on end in countless meetings is one of the most common disruptions workers face.
Solution: Limit the number of meetings (if possible) and attend them only when necessary. Allocate several “meeting-free” hours a day to focus on work. Write down a clear meeting agenda and stick to it.
Problem 4: Email and messaging
Every new message distracts you from your work. You open it, read it and delete it. Once you close the window and try to get back to work, there is a new message. So, you repeat the routine over and over again, stuck in this vicious circle.
Solution: Snooze notifications and check your mail in bulk instead of reading one message at a time. Chose more efficient communication channels. Chanty team chat is a great example of easy to use yet powerful internal communication tool.
Problem 5: Distractions and interruptions
When you’re trying to focus on a specific task, even the slightest distraction, such as a phone call, notification in your messenger or a colleague saying hi, can ruin hours of hard work.
Solution: Filter out the distractions by turning on the Do Not Disturb mode in a business messenger or globally on your phone. Make it clear to your co-workers that you are not available for a chitchat: Don’t waste your time for the sake of simply being polite.
Employee collaboration in the digital workplace
Problem 6: Multitasking
While being able to multitask is a crucial aspect of any work, it can also be a real productivity killer. Switching between the tasks can lead to lower workplace efficiency and result in poor quality outcomes.
Solutions: Prioritize your tasks and focus on one thing at a time (e.g. use Pomodoro Technique to break down your work into a number of short intervals for better efficiency). Then write down all of your tasks in the morning and stick to the plan.
Problem 7: Coffee breaks and water cooler chit chat
Breaks are important for your brain to switch from one task to another and be more productive. Yet, anything done in excess is unhealthy. A study from Florida State University found that productivity and performance are at their peak during uninterrupted 90-minute intervals.
Solution: Don’t engage in gossip at the water cooler. Don’t drink too much coffee at work. And quit smoking.
Problem 8: Deadlines
Deadlines are important to create accountability and discipline in your work. They keep you and your team on track. Yet, deadlines might also cause stress, especially if they keep moving. A Health Advocate study found that one million workers miss work each day due to stress.
Solution: Learn to assess the time and effort needed to complete each task and set realistic goals. Don’t overuse the deadlines: Not all tasks need due dates, not everything should be done ASAP.
Problem 9: Staying at the office for too long
The longer you stay focused on the task, the faster you’ll get the job done, right? Wrong!
Solution: Leaving the office at least once a day (e.g. for the lunch break) helps you recharge and refocus. Don’t work late hours: You will be more productive tomorrow if you get a healthy amount of sleep today.
Problem 10: Lack of time management skills
If you are not one of those people who only thrive in chaos, having a clear plan and staying organized is half the battle for office productivity.
Solution: Know exactly how your work time is spent. Try to write down your typical day at the office and you will see how to optimize your time for more efficiency.
The provided list of workplace productivity killers is far from being complete. Some of us get distracted by the slightest noise; others are more resistant to the interruptions. Nevertheless, it is impossible to block out all distractions and stay 100% productive all the time.
Yet, there is one proven way to boost your workplace productivity and stay sane in the office every day. Above all, it is important to maintain a healthy attitude to work and keep your routine stress-free. Remember, no one can be productive working under pressure.