#Nextchat: Reducing Tech Distractions at Work


There are so many distractions in the workplace. Meetings, voice mails, cellphone chatter, co-workers stopping by to ask a quick question ... the list goes on. Even the smell of stinky fish or burned popcorn can throw us off our game. And these days, the biggest distraction of all is technology.

Technology is supposed to simplify our lives and make us more productive, but in many cases it has only increased our workloads while crippling our attention spans.

Organizations that are ahead of the technology curve are always on the lookout for new apps that will help employees be more productive, more social and better communicators.

For instance, an app called Jive that was designed to simulate social networking sites in the workplace allows co-workers to share notes or post useful information. While this may be a boon for some, for others it’s just one more distraction, one more platform to check—one more “thing” to keep up with.

App redundancy is a drag on productivity. If a workplace is running Outlook, an instant messaging app, a social media style-sharing app and an internal communications platform that all have the same features, it’s a good bet that employees have picked their favorites and are only using one or two. And with app licensing subscriptions running thousands of dollars per month, are organizations really getting their money’s worth? If employees aren’t adopting these technologies and using them on a daily basis, then there’s no real return on investment.

According to SHRM Online editor Aliah Wright in How to Keep Technology from Distracting You at Work, “Employees have access through numerous devices, applications and platforms to vast amounts of work-related and nonwork-related information. While experts and studies say technological distractions are making us less productive, knowing more about technology’s capabilities could actually make us more efficient.”

How are you helping your employees to manage distractions in the workplace? What technology is working or not working for your employees?

Please join @shrmnextchat at 3 p.m. ET on February 17 for #Nextchat with special guest SHRM Online editor Aliah Wright (@1SHRMScribe). We’ll chat about all the ways technology is helping and hurting our productivity.


Q1. What distractions do you find to be the most harmful to productivity in the workplace?

Q2. Which workplace technology is the biggest distraction? What do you wish you could “uninstall”?

Q3. What apps have you installed that all employees use regularly and that have increased productivity and engagement?

Q4.  What technology at your workplace do you feel improves your personal productivity the most?

Q5. Which social platforms of technology have you stopped using due to redundancy or poor adoption rates?

Q6. Is it a good idea to block certain social media sites at your workplace to help reduce distractions? Why or why not?

Q7. How are you creating or changing your workplace environment or design to inhibit distractions?

Q8.  How do you alleviate distractions during your workday so you can get work done (i.e., iPod, telework days, etc.)?

Q9. What advice would you give to other HR pros looking to reduce distractions in their workplaces?


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