#Nextchat: Dealing with Tech Distractions in the Workplace



There are so many distractions in the workplace. Meetings, cubicle chatter, co-workers stopping by to ask a quick question ... the list goes on. Even the smell of a co-worker’s lunch or perfume can throw us off our game. However, these days, the biggest distraction of all is technology.

According to SHRM Online technology editor Aliah Wright in Want to Boost Productivity? Consider ‘No-Tech’ Days, more than 269 billion e-mails are sent daily, which translates into “72 electronic missives a day for every one of the estimated 3.7 billion e-mail senders worldwide. Cornerstone OnDemand's State of Workplace Productivity Report found that 47 percent of surveyed employees said they were overwhelmed by technology and that 16 percent felt technology hurt their ability to be productive.”

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. Some companies are working to help workers be more productive by removing these distractions.

While some are establishing “no tech” days or creating policies that prohibit employees from using smartphones in the workplace, others are implementing apps to help employees stay focused.  

As SHRM Online has reported, “OFFr incentivizes employees to stay off their phones for certain periods of time by rewarding them with prizes like gift cards or a free lunch when they do. (A timer records how long users have the app open without doing anything else on their phones.) There are apps that block out noise with calming music (Noisli) and set to-do lists with timers (FocusList, Remember the Milk, Forest). There are apps and websites that notify you when you haven't stayed on task (Asana) or haven't taken a break (Do Nothing for Two Minutes).”

How are you helping your employees to manage distractions in the workplace? 

Please join @shrmnextchat at 3 p.m. ET on August 9 for #Nextchat with special guest SHRM Online technology editor Aliah Wright (@1SHRMScribe). We’ll chat about all the ways employers and employees are dealing with tech distractions in the workplace.


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

Q2. Would you let your employer take your phone away for a few hours a day to help you be more productive? Why or why not?

Q3. If it helped you be more productive, would you consider having a day without technology for the employees in your office? Why or why not?

Q4 Have you created any HR policies to reduce tech distractions in your organization?

Q5. Is it a good idea to block all social media or specific social media websites at your workplace to help reduce distractions? Why or why not?

Q6. How are you creating or changing your workplace environment or design to inhibit distractions?

Q7. How do you alleviate distractions during your workday so you can get work done (i.e., telework days, etc.)?

Q8. What advice would you give to other HR pros looking to reduce distractions in their workplaces?



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