For most IT workers, avoiding distractions at work is impossible. It’s inherent in the way the workplace is designed with low-walled cubicles that mean there’s no such thing as a confidential conversation. You probably can’t do much about the office layout, but there are things you can do to reduce these other four common office distractions and help your team stay focused and productive.
Massive Email Blasts
Keeping everyone informed is important, but massive email blasts that cc: everyone on a project are more distracting than useful. Target your emails to only those who need to respond to them. If there’s valuable information you want to make sure doesn’t get lost, use a collaboration tool and either save a document or create a discussion thread that will be archived and searchable for future reference. That way, the knowledge is saved and accessible, but it doesn’t clutter up email inboxes and require everyone to figure out whether they need to respond, decide whether they should save the message, and create a filing system to keep things organized.
Ban Smartphones From Meetings
Keep meetings on track by banning smartphones from the conference room. This lets everyone focus on conducting the business of the meeting, rather than reading unrelated emails or stepping outside to take personal calls. You can minimize the withdrawal symptoms by having a concise agenda to keep the meeting brief. Make sure that having a meeting is the most effective way to achieve your goal. And start meetings on time, even if you’re missing some attendees; otherwise, you’re wasting everyone else’s time.
Funnel User and Support Requests
Requests from end users for help can pull developers off project work into production support. Don’t let end users call their favorite developers for help directly. Have a support hotline to call and assign one person to staff it (possibly on a rotating basis). That person will buffer everyone else on the team from user interruptions, bringing in them in for assistance only when needed. It’s important to have a cookbook of common problems and solutions to help the support person resolve issues without involving the rest of the team.
Automate Routine Tasks
Routine tasks often take longer than they should, because employees find them boring and look for ways to avoid doing them. Instead, use technology to free up routine tasks like packaging releases or deploying them into a test environment. That will help the tasks get done quickly and consistently, and reduce the need for your team to seek out distractions during the process.
The time you spend searching for employees is a distraction from your main job responsibilities. Working with a staffing agency like InReach IT allows you to offload this distraction to an experienced team of recruiters who will focus on finding the right people for your open positions. Contact us to learn how we can help streamline the hiring process and make you and your team more productive.