Business leaders, people managers and individual contributors all suffer from the same productivity killers, leaving everyone feeling stressed and overworked. Factors like poorly planned meetings, constantly checking email and rigid work schedules can make an entire team or department feel unproductive in a very busy work environment.
Another consequence of being unproductive at work is putting in extra hours on the job. Full-time U.S. workers already say they work 47 hours weekly, almost a full workday longer than a standard five-day workweek. But are more work hours really leading to more work being done?
Here are four subtle workplace distractions lurking around your workplace that you should eliminate right away.
1. Workplace Gossip
Chatting among co-workers about the latest company news or industry trends is one thing, and negative gossip is another. No department can endure the harmful effects a rumormonger has on productivity, especially when individuals make time to gossip during precious work hours. To make sure workplace gossip isn’t getting in the way of productivity, find ways to encourage positive gossip. For example, use staff meetings and team huddles to have team member share positive stories about their work and accomplishments.
2. Instant Message or Email Alerts
With all of the digital devices and apps at our disposal, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the many notifications that pop up throughout the day—the biggest productivity killer being the ongoing influx of instant messages and email alerts. A quick fix is to turn off automated email alerts that notify you of an incoming message, even if you have your email tab closed. Additionally, sign out of instant messaging when you need time to focus.
People with tendencies to micromanage, whether that’s micromanaging a project or a group of people, can have a harrowing impact on productivity. Having to update a manager on every project-related task or failing to delegate can make it extremely difficult or time-consuming to complete even the simplest tasks. If you think people managers and project managers on your team are guilty of micromanaging, encourage them to get feedback from their direct reports on their management style, and help them prioritize the projects that matter as well we those that don’t.
4. Inefficient Office Arrangements
Your office setup, from seating arrangements to how you map out your conference rooms, can mean the difference between efficient collaboration and frustrated employees because they can’t quickly connect with co-workers to get things done.
Open office seating, for one, makes it easier for employees to collaborate and communicate, rather than having to hunt down a colleague in a cubicle. Carefully evaluate your office layout and the impact it can have on your team’s efficiency and their ability to connect to get work done faster.
Many workplace factors can hinder and help productivity. But by keeping an eye out for these subtle distractions that could be keeping your team’s productivity at bay, you can quickly and hopefully easily resolve them.
Editor's Note: This post was previously published on Inc.com and has been republished here with permission.