Curb Employee Distraction

In a world of smart phones, phone watches, and constant extincting and emailing, distractions are ever present.  Speaking from personal experience, my level of anxiety and distraction has increased significantly with the use of a smart phone and its continuous alerts from social media sources, data updates, text and emails.  Distractions from technology can be dangerous if they happen in the wrong environment.

A blog by Marty Martin talks about how to curb distractions within the workplace.   After discussing the two types of distractions, interior: worry, anxiety, loss, headache, and exterior: social media, cell phones, other workers, he discusses steps to get rid of distractions.

1.)    Analyze the job from a different point of view: Are there visual or audio distractions? What is the work environment like including lighting, desk and chair set up?  What are the job responsibilities including those in the written description and those that go unwritten? If the job and environment are not designed well any employee, including highly functioning ones, may become distracted and not able to complete their job the most efficiently.

2.)    Make a plan that eliminates distractions: This plan could include physically moving the individual or switching around something in the environment that will eliminate distractions.  Moving someone away from a window or a high traffic area may be all they need in order to improve focus.  Other plans might include banning certain email or social media programs while at work or turning off loud alerts on computers and cell phones.

3.)    Have other resources available if needed: Some workers may have more going on and a distraction elimination plan might not work for them.   Dr. Martin suggests having resources such as councilors or therapists available if the problem is bigger than a manager can handle.

No matter the cause, distractions can make workers under-perform and in certain environments can also be extremely dangerous.  Eliminating distractions in environments that are physically demanding or include heavy dangerous machinery or tools is essential to the safety of all employees.  While high quality safety products such as SLIPNOT slip resistant flooring help eliminate slip and fall accidents workers must still be ever vigilant of their environment.

Martin, Marty, Psy.D. “Managing Distracted Employees.” December 1 6, 2013. December 26, 2013

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