Hands up anyone who’s ever had to deal with annoying distractions at work. One thing’s for sure, if you’ve had to put up with these frustrations, you’re not alone. Whether it’s loud conversations, buzzing phones or co-workers eating their lunches at their desks, there are all sorts of annoying interruptions that come with office life. Not only can these common bugbears rub employees up the wrong way, but they can also lead to low worker morale, poor performance and reduced productivity – all of which can damage a company’s bottom line. Luckily, there are plenty of simple yet effective ways to minimise these disturbances and restore peace to the office. To give you some useful ideas, here are five easy ways to combat annoying distractions in the workspace.
- Use office screens
Open plan office spaces have become increasingly popular over recent decades, offering companies the chance to bolster collaboration and promote a sense of camaraderie among employees. However, while there are many benefits to these types of workspaces, they also come with their downsides. With increased noise levels and constant distractions, an open work environment can cause staff members to feel frustrated and stressed, which can have a negative effect on productivity. Without any privacy or quiet time, many people struggle to focus on their tasks and, consequently, the standard of their work slips.
Luckily, this issue can be easily resolved with office screens. These portable room dividers are made from special sound-absorbing materials and can be used to break up open plan office spaces to reduce distractions and lower noise levels. They can be utilised to create separate work zones that can be used for meetings or individual tasks that require focused attention. You can also get smaller desk screens, which can be used to divide shared workstations and provide more privacy for employees.
- Invest in plenty of storage
Another irritating distraction in the workspace is mess. Being surrounding by stacks of paperwork, files and folders and other office knickknacks can make it almost impossible for employees to give their full attention to their tasks. While some people are just messier than others, one simple solution that can prevent a cluttered environment is to provide more storage. Without a proper place to keep their office supplies, people often end up dumping things on desks and other surfaces and, before you know it, your workplace has descended into mayhem.
If you want your staff to perform to the best of their ability, streamline their surroundings by providing a variety of storage solutions, including filing systems, under-desk drawers, shelves and bookcases. Make sure that all office equipment and tools have a clear home so that people will avoid putting them in places they don’t belong. It is also worth having shredders, bins and recycling containers to keep unnecessary paperwork off desktops. Before leaving the office at the end of the day, ask employees to have a quick clear up and make sure everything has been stored away in a suitable place to prevent the clutter from building up.
- Provide an eating area
It’s well known that one of the most infuriating workplace distractions is people eating their lunch at their desks. Whether it’s smelly food, noisy eaters or people not clearing away their leftovers, it’s easy to see how these lunchtime habits can throw people off balance and prevent them from focusing on their job.
A straightforward way to avoid this problem is to provide a separate area for people to eat. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a designated dining area – even a simple canteen table and chair setup away from the main workspace can encourage staff to move away from their desks when they are eating lunch. This way, staff can eat and socialise with colleagues without getting sideways glances from people who are trying to work.
- Put a ban on personal items
Let’s face it, we’ve all been guilty of texting, answering a personal phone call or checking our social media notifications while at work, right? While glancing at a phone every once in awhile is harmless, when done incessantly it can be a real distraction – not only for the person doing it, but also for those around them.
To keep your personnel focused on the task at hand and minimise technology interruptions, it can help to provide places where workers can store their personal items and keep them out of sight, such as a drawer under the desk or a locker. You may also want to consider having a policy where no personal phones are allowed during working hours to remove the temptation to use them.
- Plan the layout carefully
The layout of an office can also be a distraction. Whether it’s the constant noise from printers, traffic from outside or lift doors opening and closing, a poorly planned office design can mean that employees struggle to focus.
If you want your staff to remain productive, it pays off to carefully plan the layout of your office to minimise possible disturbances. Ideally, you should try to avoid positioning workstations next to high traffic spots, such as by the printing area, eating spaces, entrances or walkways and instead opt for quieter settings. If you have the space, it’s a good idea to have designated zones for different activities. For example, having a separate place for printing and scanning and an area for filing can help to reduce the chance of interferences. While this might mean you have to go to the effort of reshuffling a few desks and some equipment, the benefits will make this well worth your while in the long run.
In every office there are bound to be some irritating distractions that simply can’t be avoided. However, by following simple suggestions like these, you should be able to boost concentration levels, enhance efficiency and make your workplace a far more pleasant place to be. For more ideas on how to create an efficient, productive workspace, why not browse our range of high quality office furniture today?