There’s nothing better than entering the workplace and seeing your employees getting on with their tasks. As a business owner or manager, you should pride yourself on giving employees a space to work that promotes productivity and limits distractions.
This doesn’t mean you have to divide your floor plan into cubicles, either. True productivity happens when employees have a well-organized workflow, understand their role in the business, and access all the necessary resources and tools.
Guest Post by Katie Brenneman
Roles and Departments
As a business owner, you may be more excited about developing your product or service than you are about creating departments and organizing workflow. However, once you have a few employees under your command, you need to open new departments — like administration and IT — to support productivity and limit distractions.
You don’t have to open a dozen departments overnight when your business starts to grow. However, there are some essential departments for every small business looking to expand. At a minimum, you’ll need to think about opening departments like:
- Customer Service;
Opening these departments ensures that you don’t overwhelm your current employees. For example, if you run a growing sign shop, you may need to open a sales and customer service department when you start to grow. This will allow your fabricators (the folks who make the signs) to focus on their daily tasks rather than getting distracted by potential customers who call in with queries and questions.
No business owner wants to become a tyrant at work. You may have even become your own boss to get away from authoritarian workspaces and cultures. However, every workplace needs a few rules to maintain productivity and limit distractions.
You can keep your office running smoothly by organizing the workspace and creating regulations about how shared resources are used and stored. This ensures that everyone has access to the necessary equipment without diving through drawers and boxes for a stapler.
You should also set clear rules around mobile phone use. Nothing saps workplace productivity like employees who spend most of their workday staring at their phones. Not only are they distracting, but they can also be a risk to your company’s security. Ask your employees to take personal calls outside and to refrain from using social media during their working hours. You can even give employees extra resources, like robocall blockers that detect spam calls and prevent fake callers from distracting your employees.
Meetings are infamously dreaded in corporate culture. The reason is simple — they kill productivity and take employees away from their desks for prolonged periods. Worse still, most of the time spent in meetings doesn’t pertain to attendees, who idly twiddle their thumbs while they wait for something pertinent to them to come up.
You can help maintain productivity and limit employee distractions by recording your meetings and allowing folks to catch up at a later time. Recording meetings ensures that you never lose information and keeps everyone in the loop. Folks who were too busy to attend can catch up later at a more convenient time.
If you do choose to record meetings, ensure that you get everyone’s permission first. Some states don’t require you to get everyone’s permission, but no employee likes to be recorded without their knowledge and consent. Telling everyone that you are recording the meeting can also cut down on workplace gossiping and promote a more transparent, positive work culture.
The culture that you promote at your workplace has a huge impact on distractions and productivity. Folks who excessively gossip and surf the web can tank your business’s efficiency by distracting everyone around them. Fortunately, you can get ahead of these distracting behaviors by creating a culture focused on positive work interactions and self-improvement.
A productive, distraction-free working environment requires effective leadership and a strong sense of purpose. As a business leader, it’s your job to set the tone by giving your employees a good example and maintaining high standards for workplace behavior. Be consistent about the rules you want your employees to work by, and remember that you promote behavior that you permit.
It’s worth bearing in mind that some folks genuinely don’t know how to be productive. Rather than getting frustrated, try to support these employees by giving them tools and training to increase productivity. For example, you could give these employees access to workflow management systems to help them stay focused on their daily tasks. Alternatively, you could host guest speakers and workshops that teach your employees to avoid distractions with practices like the Pomodoro technique.
Your workplace should be a space where employees feel productive and happy to work. By limiting distractions, you can keep everyone focused on the task at hand and maintain a positive, transparent work culture. Just be sure to give employees access to the resources they need, as nothing diminishes productivity like time spent looking for tools or answering spam calls.