Managing Distractions: 6 Tips for Staying Focused at Work

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When you’re in a fast-paced working environment, it’s easy to become distracted. Whether your team works indoors, outdoors or both, there are plenty of environmental factors that can grab people’s attention. This is a problem because attention to detail is critical in most careers. When you struggle with staying focused at work, it can lead to mistakes and injuries that cost your company money and your employees their safety. When your job requirements include keeping your employees safe, distractions are your worst enemy. It’s important to minimize the risk however you can, so learn how to eliminate distractions at work before something goes wrong.

  1. Noise

Have you ever been on an airplane with a crying baby? Before you knew it, the noise was probably the only thing you could hear. The same rule applies to the workplace. If there is a constant noise that doesn’t fit the environment, people are likely to focus on the sound rather than their work. Listen closely around your workplace for possible distractions that employees may have grown used to. While some employees are unlikely to complain, a new hire might have trouble maintaining concentration.

  1. Driving Distractions

The open road can be a dangerous place when your attention is split between a dozen different things. All too often, employees think of travel time as time off. The reality is, driving demands all of a person’s attention. Whether employees are operating a personal vehicle, a forklift or a semi, it’s important to do everything you can to eliminate distractions. If employees at your company spend time on the road, ensure that they are getting around safely by prohibiting cell phone use while driving.

  1. Lack of Sleep

When you’re tired, it often seems like all you can focus on is the fact that you need more sleep. While adults should get seven or more hours of sleep per night, many people fall short of that amount. Working while tired is distracting because it’s hard to devote attention to small details when drowsiness hits. While you can’t control your coworkers’ sleeping habits, it’s not a bad idea to encourage plenty of rest.

  1. Hair Everywhere 

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People with long hair know that there are some compromises they have to make on a daily basis to prevent mishaps. Whether it’s putting your hair in a hairnet while cooking or into a ponytail while using equipment, taking precautions can make the difference between a job well done and a distracting nuisance. Big beards are a common sight today, and they pose their own safety risks with dangerous machinery. Even if your business has no regulations regarding hair length, it’s still important to make sure people with long hair are taking proper precautions to do things safely.

  1. A Messy Workplace 

It’s easy to take a clean work space for granted, but it’s an important consideration to prevent distractions. When things get messy on a desk or throughout an office, it’s nearly impossible not to shift your attention towards the things that get in the way. A clean working environment improves productivity because the work is front and center. Files, books, wires, food wrappers and other items might seem harmless at first glance, but they can lead to slips and falls at work. Keep clutter out of the way to increase safety.

  1. Home Concerns

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Everyone has things going on in their personal lives that can interfere with their ability to complete tasks at work. When you work on a jobsite that requires your full attention, employees should keep concerns regarding their personal lives at home. Mental health is important, so employees who feel overstressed from their life at home should be encouraged to seek psychotherapy or counseling. Of course, personal problems can be a sensitive subject for anyone to discuss, so bring up the issue gently to someone who seems to be bringing their home life to work. The employee is more likely to be receptive to your concerns if you show that you care about their wellbeing.

Other than the break room, distractions have no place in a work environment. When you make an effort to eliminate distractions, productivity and safety will increase for your business. It’s one of the easiest safety measures to take, because eliminating distractions usually involves removing items rather than implementing new safety programs. Work closely with your team by asking them what they find distracting in their environment. You might discover that there are work distractions that have flown under the radar for a long time, simply because people have grown used to them. Give your employees a better environment for working, and they are likely to give you better work in return.