Best Practices for Helping Employees Deal with Digital Distractions

Digital Distractions

Being isolated during the current pandemic has just amplified our addiction to technology and increased the number of diversions for teams working from home in this hyper-connected age. There are enough digital distractions—from Zoom meetings to Slack, to SMS, emails, and social media—to adversely affect the productivity and well-being of your workforce.
According to Gloria Mark, a researcher at the University of California who focuses on digital distractions, it normally takes someone who has been distracted 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to the original job. In other words, taking 20 seconds to reply to a chat can result in a startling loss of productivity of up to 25 minutes. Regarding the health of team members, Mark’s study has demonstrated that digital distractions can also cause individuals to experience higher levels of stress and emotional exhaustion.
Our culture is based on interruptions, which can be detrimental to productivity. Electronic gadget notifications frequently just serve to increase the distraction. A lot of people are so accustomed to being stopped at work that they actively seek one out when they aren’t. The performance of small-business owners can be harmed by distraction and continual multitasking.
So what should a leader do? Experts share some of the top techniques with you below that, in addition to helping to lessen distractions, also help to increase team trust and engagement.

Become proficient in asynchronous communication:

Abe Breuer, founder of VIP To Go states: “When you receive an email, it is acceptable to think, “I will get to this when it suits me.” Asynchronous communication has the advantage of providing people with more uninterrupted time to focus, as well as the advantage of extending the length of time we have to answer a request.
Making decisions at the moment during a phone call or video chat is different from doing so during an email exchange, where you have more time to think about your response.”


Andy Golpys, founder of branding agency MadeByShape; “Adults in good health need seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Many small business entrepreneurs forgo sleep in favor of longer workdays to accomplish more. Even worse, this “sleep debt” can accumulate over an extended period.
Lack of sleep might make it harder to stay focused and perform activities to the best of your ability. Increasing your focus and improving your general health may be aided by getting some sleep.”

Change your surroundings:

Andy continues; “You may find that, despite your best efforts, you are unable to focus on your work or shut out digital distractions.
I advise a change of scenery in these situations. Researchers in psychology have discovered that switching around your environment, even if it’s just the next room over, might help reset your brain and spark creativity.
Fortunately, most SaaS-based productivity applications, like G Suite and Slack, support working anywhere, so we don’t need to be seated at a desk to be effective. Go mobile and unleash your creativity without hesitation.”

Turn Off the Distractions:

According to Sam Willis, founder of Raincatcher; “You might avoid having information disrupt a focused workflow by checking for it beforehand. You might want to disable all app alerts on desktop and mobile devices.
Think about merely handling each request once per day and checking your email four times a day. Reducing distractions and improving focus may be made possible by maintaining control over your electronics.
There is no way for your coworkers to observe how concentrated you are on your responsibilities at any one moment if you work remotely. When you are blocking out distractions, it’s crucial to communicate to prevent any potential disagreement.
Not only will this approach rid you of digital notifications, but it will also make it clear to your colleagues that you are operating at peak performance.
By changing your status on the team’s communication tool, such as Slack, you can quickly let your team know what’s going on. This way, your boss will be aware of what you are doing, and your coworkers will wait to ask about any outstanding issues until you are back in the office.”

Take a Digital Detox:

Isla Sibanda, founder of Privacy Australia recommends the following: “Digital detoxes can be challenging. The dopamine high that comes from checking notifications has become a reward in our minds.
We keep returning because our brains have been programmed to wait for that dopamine hit, even though there is a trend of diminishing returns—you need to spend more time on your smartphone to experience a stronger surge of the chemical.
Initially start small and work your way up. Ten minutes without your device. Alternately, abstain from using technology for 10 minutes and instead concentrate on organizing your thoughts and getting ready for the day ahead by writing, planning, or doing whatever else is necessary.
You can gradually extend the period you go without using a device. The first few times will be challenging, and you’ll inevitably make mistakes or give in. However, the most important thing is to maintain your resolve and carry on.”

Identify the period you’re the most productive in:

Isla continues; “Everybody has a time during the day when they naturally operate at their highest level of productivity. Some people enjoy the morning in all its splendor, while others prefer the evening, and only a select few can work steadily throughout the day.
You should schedule your challenging tasks for when you are most productive so that you can focus on them when you are not at your best. This won’t always be effective because some tasks must be completed regardless of your level of productivity.
However, it is helpful to know when you are the most productive. This way, you’re free to adapt yourself to your surroundings and allow yourself to distribute the assigned workload to your liking.”

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