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What stops your staff being as productive as they could be?

Posted on 14th May 2015

Even with the best will in the world, it can be difficult for employees to stay focused and motivated every minute of every day. But in their defence, this isn't always their fault! There's often so much going on at work that it can genuinely be very hard to concentrate, as there are simply too many distractions to try to shut out.

A recent study by Samsung Electronics UK lifted the lid on this issue, showing that distractions in the workplace mean businesses are losing around £250 million a year! The study also showed that workers only believe they have achieved something 3.6 days a week on average and are not productive for a staggering 70 days of the year. 

It's therefore clear that tackling this issue could be in the best interests of businesses, as positive action could help  you get more out of  your staff. 
Furthermore,  your workforce could end up much happier as a result ,more willing to stick around, and more likely to promote your business as a  fantastic place to work.

Who knows? We all want to be the Employer of Choice, and this could help you attract higher quality candidates next time new positions become available!
So what are the main distractions employers should be mindful of? Samsung's research identified seven that commonly affect people's ability to work...

  • Colleagues talking loudly – 57% 
  • The phone ringing – 39% 
  • Unnecessary meetings – 26% 
  • Too many emails arriving in inbox – 22% 
  • Making tea rounds – 18% 
  • Office gossips – 16% per cent
  • People typing loudly – 12% per cent

One interesting solution might be encouraging flexible and remote working. 

Flexible working now has to be offered to employees if they ask for it, and every employee who has been working for you for over 26 weeks, has the right for it to be granted. This isn’t such a bad thing though, it offers the opportunity for everyone to work in an environment that best suits them, and may encourage more productivity. A happy workforce is a productive workforce, and this may also invite others to come and work for you. 

Graham Long, vice president of the enterprise business team at Samsung, commented: "£250 million is a big loss to the UK economy so it’s important that businesses recognise that having the right mix of technology in the workplace and fully enabling mobile working can positively impact employee productivity and engagement.

"Today’s workplace is an 'always on' environment and as workers, we are more distracted, and more connected, than ever before."

According to the Samsung survey, more than one in five people who spend at least some of their working day in an office believe they are more productive when they work from home instead. Indeed, many of those who work at home regularly have set up a dedicated workspace and even get dressed for a day at work to help themselves get in the mindset.

Nevertheless, employers might be concerned at the admission from nearly nine in ten? homeworkers that they still often get sidetracked. Fellow house occupants, housework, the television and household pets were flagged up as particularly common distractions - but before hitting the panic button and ruling out allowing remote and flexible working, employers should put this in the proper context.

The earlier figures outlined just how often employees get distracted in the office too, so perhaps the best approach is to give members of staff the option so they can find a workspace that suits them. If they end up happier, more productive and  promoting the benefits of working for your company, it's ultimately in your best interests as well. 

At The Maine Group, we like to think we are flexible with all of our staff. We offer part time roles, working from home, and remote access from anywhere. Sometimes it just helps to get out of the office and let the productivity flow! Having said that, we also offer a hot desking option in the office so teams can sit together if they want to, whilst still having the option of moving away and working quietly if needed. A happy and harmonious working environment is a productive one! 

Creating a healthy and productive working environment can be crucial in both attracting and retaining the best people!
Our Maine Consultancy division has a variety of options to help you ensure the foundations of your business are solid and able to support your continual growth, success and productivity. Take a look at our Maine Consultancy division page to find out more - or get in touch with our CEO, Meeta today!