Cutting Down on Workplace Distractions

For most office workers, each day is a constant battle between endless distractions and an ever growing to-do list. That’s not just bad for workers, it’s bad for the bottom line. Persistent distractions in the workplace can cost businesses significantly, with countless hours of lost productivity. Some consultants estimate that it takes the average person about four minutes to recover from an interruption. With regular interruptions throughout the day, that adds up quickly. If you are concerned about your productivity or your company’s, consider this list of suggestions for improving focus in the workplace.

Be diligent about creating deadlines for tasks, or they may go on forever. Deadlines also help workers know how much is expected of them and what level of detail to go into for a project.deadline

Don’t get distracted by each and every email, alert, text, or tweet. Instead, set aside time to check your messages once or twice each day, then move on to other things. If you’re receiving phone calls, have them go to voicemail, then return the calls at the specified time.


If you have to take phone calls, try to do it where you won’t distract anyone else. If that’s not an option, let your workers wear headphones to protect them from noise. Headphones can help block out all manner of distractions, including chatty co-workers. Just make sure that the music isn’t so loud that it bothers their neighbours.


Environmental factors like temperature and lighting can have a significant impact on a person’s ability to focus. Do what you can to make the office a comfortable environment. Make sure the dress code can accommodate workers who are too cold or too warm.


Social Media
Avoid social media and other time-sinks. Some workplaces go so far as to block these sites completely. Save it for breaks, or better yet, for after work.

social media

Office Conflicts
If workers are trying to sabotage each other, it will begin as a productivity drain, and it will end up tanking morale. Consider team-building exercises or letting go of problem workers.


Too many meetings are a guaranteed waste of time. Do meetings need to occur so frequently? Does everyone need to be there? Could you stick to an agenda to keep them shorter?


Working Without a Plan
If you’re jumping from task to task, your efforts will prove fruitless. Instead, make a plan of what you’re going to work on and when. That way, you’ll be able to give each project your complete focus.


If you’re a supervisor, don’t add to the distractions. Make sure to back off and let the employees do their work.


The distractions in an office environment can seem endless, especially among large teams. However, if you minimize the ones listed here, you will be well on your way to a more focused workplace and greater productivity.