COMMON DISTRACTIONS AT WORK (and How to Handle Them Properly)

Technology helps us boost our productivity in various ways. They serve as a useful tool in communication, work completion, and accomplishment of daily activities. However, it also sometimes causes the employees to be less productive at their jobs. Smartphones, online games, shopping apps, and social media platforms are just a few of the technological breakthroughs that can also cause distractions at work. They should be appropriately utilized to make the most of their benefits.


Distractions Affect the Quality of Work

Workplace distractions can also lead to some significant consequences. They can negatively affect the quality of work, employee morale, and the boss-employee relationship. The managers and other superiors must take the necessary steps to ensure that distractions will be appropriately handled, in case not avoided.

Some companies even implement blocking the site of social media, banning personal calls, and instituting lunch and break time. Another strategy is having an ergonomically designed workstation.


Some of the common distractions and productivity killers at work are the following:

  • Cell Phone/Texting
  • Surfing the net
  • Gossiping
  • Reading unnecessary emails
  • Long meetings
  • Noise


How To Handle Distractions and Become More Productive?


Learning how to handle distractions can be a turning point for you to become more focused and organized. What are the key elements to handle distractions and ensure employee productivity? The following are the tips you should consider:


Taking Breaks

It has been proven that taking breaks is the key to productivity because it enables your mind to rest. It also lets you do some personal stuff so that you will not be tempted to do this during office hours. Employees must be encouraged to take a break during the day. This will help them to make some movements and get some fresh air before going back to work.

When employees are prone to a sedentary lifestyle, they must have time to stand or walk for a while. If workers are having trouble concentrating, have them step outside and have a 10-20 minute walk. It is also essential to invest in a sit-stand desk that can help workers to stand and alleviate the sedentary lifestyle. When you are standing, your blood vessels pump, and this can be similar to a light exercise that can rejuvenate the brain. Standing can also be good as this can prevent common cardiovascular problems such as high blood and diabetes.


Unnecessary Emails

Some of our emails in the inboxes are less urgent than others. We often feel the need to check at them as this could be an important message. Here are some of the few tips on how you can manage messages so that they won't take you away from important tasks.  

Schedule Checking Time: It is vital to respond to customers and superiors properly. We must set a time checking and responding to messages. If possible, set a time or give yourself every half an hour to respond to emails, so you don't get distracted every time you receive one.


Schedule Checking of Additional Emails in Less Productive Time: Schedule your most important tasks at your peak hours and productive work schedule. Since emails are received at different times of the day, it is important to set another schedule to check the remaining emails.


Use the Trash: Don't keep some emails forever. Know how to manage your inbox as it grows as you might lose important ones. Place unimportant emails that you don't need in the trash and archive the ones that you want to keep.


Browsing the Internet

Reading the latest headlines, checking Sports TV, and ordering new clothes online can steal 30 minutes of your time and can be regarded as office breach rules. If browsing is required at one's work, make sure that you allot time and keep off yourself from searching unnecessary items aside from the sites needed from your work.  



Noise is one of the causes of distraction at work, and it comes in many forms; some are intentional, and some are not. Sometimes, it could be giggling co-workers in a pantry taking a break or a furious co-worker typing on a keyboard from the cubicle. Whatever these distractions might be, it could be frustrating. Outside distractions are included, too, and this could be an ambulance siren, street drill or train screeching.


One of the factors that can stop distractions is to wear headphones. Noise-cancelling headphones can be a better option. If noise cannot be prevented, find a place in your cubicle that is somewhat quieter, so you can work at peace. Many modern offices have designated a calm area where any form of noise is not allowed.


The Environment

The working environment also serves as a significant part of the employee's overall job performance. For instance, the temperature in the workplace must be in the correct state. Having a too cold or too hot environment can affect the employees' focus and concentration. Also, if your cubicle is at the glare of the sun, it may not be very easy for you to look at the computer screen. It is best that temperature is acceptable for everybody and that you can see your screen clearly without any distractions.


Use of Personal Smart Phones

Using your smartphones can also lead to getting distracted with your job. Sometimes, when we start checking on our phone, we then get indulged with checking social media accounts, news, or even watching videos online. We then get noticed that we've already spent long hours doing those activities and have missed essential work assignments. To prevent the issue, we should avoid using smartphones during business hours unless needed to take calls and stay connected. Learn when to make personal calls and when to skip using your phone. They can be turned into a silent notification for those times you need full concentration.


Identifying distractions in the office is an essential task every employee should know. This is not only to achieve efficiency and productivity, but it will also be a great way to improve yourself. When you notice that you are completing your task, your self-confidence will be boosted. You will then become more highly motivated with your job.