Help employees focus again, cut interruptions

With multiple offices open, it’s important to help employees refocus.

But it’s difficult because they still feel overwhelmed, stressed, distracted, and even unappreciated.

One big culprit: all the biggest “noise” in their work and their lives: beeps, buzzes, and warnings have become the norm inside and outside of work. They receive tons of emails, hear noisy conversations, read confusing messages, and frequently participate in unnecessary face-to-face meetings and Zoom.

Front-line HR leaders and executives want to help them reduce the distractions—cyber-attacks       and distractions—that interrupt their attention and clear their brains.

Clarify the problem

Talk to employees about how the distraction—and how to respond to it—affects their ability to concentrate, memory, brain function, and performance.

Just a few statistics that might explain the point. Professional:

  • Stopped 50 times a day – and it takes a few minutes to get fully focused after each time
  • check your phone 150 times a day
  • check email 36 times a day and
  • Multitasking in meetings, resulting in unproductive time.

Focus on what you can control

Supervisors and employees have limited control over certain working hours – meetings and certain responsibilities require precise time.

Encourage employees to determine their most productive time in a limited amount of time, and plan to avoid distractions, and work on high-priority tasks.

Follow “line 7 to 7”

In his research, McCormack found that 40% of people who didn’t check their smartphones before and at the end of the day had four or more hours of productive silence each day.

Try “11 minutes to sit”

Before critical conversations, presentations, or meetings, employees and managers want to try stepping away from screens and phones to think about what they want to achieve.

They can walk or sit silently to focus on the goal and are more likely to achieve it.

Accept the “post-it challenge”

Distractions make people feel overwhelmed and try to do more activities during the day.

Instead, experts propose a single task with the highest priority. Write each task on a post-it note and throw it away when you’re done.

They can check the trash in the afternoon and at the end of the day to see what they’ve accomplished with a purpose.

Strengthen communication

Encourage employees to simplify their messages and look for simple messages so they can communicate more effectively.

Before writing or speaking to convey information, ask them, “What is the most important thing I want to convey?” Then they can set up email, voicemail, or call.

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