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Digital distraction in the workplace

Technology has changed the way we communicate in the office. Colleagues all over the world can work together from wherever they are, keeping workflow smooth and on track. However, the very same technology can also serve as a distraction. According to a survey from Udemy, nearly three out of four workers (70%) admit to being distracted on the job, with 16% saying they’re almost always distracted. A shocking 36% of millennials/Gen Z said they spent two or more hours per work day looking at their phones for personal activities. While HR Daily Advisor found in their study that the average worker checks in on email and Slack every six minutes. Conversations around the kettle or the water cooler are a welcome part of any office culture – breaks do, in fact, increase productivity – but what can you do to minimise those digital distractions? Here are our top tips for managing your productivity.

1. Schedule meetings in the afternoon: Most people work better in the morning, becoming more productive as the morning goes on, hitting their peak around noon. Schedule meetings after lunch and you’ll be able to take advantage of peak productivity in the morning.

2. Don’t take devices to meetings: Phones, tablets and laptops can be disrespectful and distracting in meetings. Set them to silent or leave them at your desk.

3. Disable notifications: Turn off pop-ups and mute sound notifications. This will help you manage technology instead of allowing technology to manage you.

4. Time blocking: Increase your productivity by scheduling technology breaks for you to get up-to-date and work time for you to silence the tech.

5. Take a phone-free break: Set alarms specifying how often you can check your phone and then dedicate two minutes to going through messages or notifications. Reset the timer and continue working. Start with 30 minutes and build up to two hours at a time.

6. Use technology: Ironically, there are plenty of website blocker tools and apps that will cut off access to your biggest distractions. Use them! You can’t rely on willpower alone.

It takes about three weeks for a repeating behaviour to form a habit so keep pushing through as practicing will make dealing with tech distraction easier to accomplish.

Read our related blog: Tips to reduce stress in the workplace

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