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If an office worker has ever claimed to be fully focused at all times and never succumb to workplace distractions like chatting with coworkers, social media, or vacation hunting, they are lying.

It’s not something to be ashamed of; we all get a little distracted and our minds wander. Expect our modern, Snapchat and Instagram-inspired society to train us to focus our attention on something for just ten seconds or less.
A generation of workers are growing up with high demands on their time and their attention is short and this trend has affected the rest of the workforce.

It’s no wonder that sometimes the focus of business people takes off from the actual task, which can be an absolute productivity nightmare and a real headache for managers.

According to research by Fellowes, the average office worker is distracted up to 15 times a day every 35 minutes, and half of office workers in the UK admit to being idle for up to an hour a day.

An incredible statistic considering that nationally, there are 21 million days for distractions!

Then how do you stop this distraction epidemic and get your employees’ attention back?

First of all, you need to find out what is taking your attention away from the computer screen. We’ve rounded up the top eight distractions in the office and offered you some solutions to tackle those distractions.

The eight best distractions in the office

Chat with colleagues

The bond between employees should be fostered and we all know that frankly there is no point in preventing workers from discussing last night’s Eastenders episode or the weekend’s sporting action. There is an immense benefit in creating a buzz in the office where people are joking and laughing and building real relationships, but the hard part is not getting too far.

One solution is to encourage employees to remove it from their system early in the day. If you set a period of 15 to 30 minutes at the beginning of the day in which the employees can discuss everything under the sun and catch up together, they will be advised that this is the time for preparing soap operas, and not for the entire working day .

Tea breaks

The Great British Brew is a staple of office life and it would be absolute slaughter if an employer suggested restrictions on tea at work. Instead, encourage employees to cut time in the kitchen by setting up a rota where one employee prepares a round of drinks for a department or team. Alternatively, you can set up time slots during which employees can make their own cup of coffee at their own time. It would be ridiculous to propose a regiment of tea restrictions to a British workforce, so be careful with these initiatives.

If you don’t want to go that route, you can invest in tea and coffee machines that speed up the brewing process and get your employees back to their desks in no time.

Surf the Internet

There are ways to restrict your employees’ access to the Internet, which can be an enormous waste of time for employees. The length and breadth of the internet is a tempting prospect when employees are engaged in a difficult task. So, blocking social media websites and YouTube from the internet computers can make a huge difference.

If you do not want to dictate what your employees can see while working online, make sure that employees can use the Internet for their chosen purposes during lunch breaks or before / after work and that they are trusted, that they can concentrate on their tasks and not on the distractions of the latest Twitter trends.

IT problems

When turning the power on and off doesn’t work, many UK workers give up and look for other suggestions while they wait for their computer to work again. IT problems can be difficult to combat because they are unpredictable and most of your employees are not qualified to correct the problem.

Investing in a knowledgeable and well-equipped IT department can reduce the time wasted on IT problems. It can also be worth teaching your employees basic IT skills so that they can spot a problem early and fix it themselves, reducing the temptation to be distracted.

Bad habits of colleagues

There are some things you can forgive your co-workers and there are some things you cannot. Spending nine hours a day in close proximity to people can create a hostile environment where small nuisances can lead to major distractions. Make sure you start reducing your employees’ habits that you can expect to cause problems with the rest of the staff early on.

Being too hot

In midsummer, heat can be a huge distraction for office workers, especially as the British never seem prepared for the humidity our summer months bring.

Investing in air conditioning for your offices and making sure there is enough air in the room will make the area more comfortable to work in and prevent people from noticing that it is “too hot” all the time.

Inconvenient jobs

The health and wellbeing of your employees should be your number one priority. Hence, it is of the utmost importance to make sure that they are familiar with their work positions. Ergonomic keyboards, standing desks and calibrated computer screens go a long way towards keeping employees happy and avoiding distractions.

Uncomfortable chairs

The same goes for office chairs: poor posture and sore muscles can divert people’s attention from the actual task at hand and affect productivity and their own physical health. Therefore, investing in comfortable chairs can help strengthen your workforce in a number of ways.

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