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The 3 most common workplace distractions

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Encountering distractions at work is not necessarily a novel experience, but doing productive work while swathed by smells of Mandarin oranges and hearing stories from your colleague’s reunion dinner might prove to be a colossal task.

In January of every year, employees ‘enjoy’ an extended holiday hangover, with the month being fenced in between New Year and Chinese New Year celebrations.

But with employees having just returned from end-of-year leave and having high motivation levels to acquire the newly-set company targets and goals, the celebratory mode significantly interrupts productivity levels.

Here are some distractions encountered at work, and what you can do to help employees better manage their time in the office.

1. Idle chatter

Studies have shown the most common distraction in the office is loud colleagues. While these pain-inducing creatures strike all year round, their atrocities become even more unbearable during this period. Recounting tales of that vacation white-water rafting in the Caribbean and exchanging opinions about hong-paos can definitely get in way of trying to work that needs your attention.

If found in such a position, employers are encouraged to provide an environment which provides opportunities for solitary time. Setting individual projects and goals at the beginning of the year might be useful to curb unnecessary socialising within the office, and hold employees accountable for their own successes.

If all else fails, investing in some noise-cancelling headphones might be worth a thought.

2. Holiday emails and internet promotions

The Wall Street Journal recently reported office workers are interrupted – or self-interrupt – roughly every three minutes. Once thrown off track, it can take some 23 minutes for a worker to return to their original task. The phenomenon is intensified during the period of seasons greetings and Gong Xi Fa Cai greeting cards.

Reducing reliance on email and surf-time on social media sites might help an employee focus better in this time. Rather than staying in the office and behind their desk (increasing chances of more chit chat about their holidays), encourage staff to pick up the phone and meet that client!

3. Empty time

With there being the possibility of enjoying 10 long weekends this year, it’s likely many workers will take various off-days to enjoy celebratory seasons. The result? Hampering productivity levels as employees wait for responses from clients and bosses.

A way to optimally utilise this time is for employers to establish commitments for people to work on professional development. You need to continually develop your talent anyway, and encouraging your workers to take outside courses or pursuing online training courses is a great way to ensure time isn’t wasted.

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