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© Aleksandr Pogudin |
Small business

2 clever ways to improve work productivity

A study from Microsoft suggests that 40% of the time when a worker is interrupted, they don’t return to work right away. Another statistic says that when a worker is interrupted from a task, it takes about 20 minutes to re-acclimate to what they were doing.

But do you really need studies and research to tell you what negatively affects employee productivity? As business owners and managers, you know providing a work-life balance is always a challenge.

You care about workplace culture and want your employees to look forward to coming to work every day, yet you also need to get stuff done. We’ll take a look at the biggest time-wasters at work, along with ideas and considerations to improve productivity, brought to you by our sponsor, Dell Small Business.

What are the biggest time-wasters at work?

  • Email
  • The internet
  • Social media
  • Instant messaging and chats
  • Noisy and chatty coworkers
  • Too many meetings
  • Poorly run meetings
  • Multi-tasking
  • Lack of clearly defined tasks
  • Lack of workflows and processes

Step 1: Change productivity with tech

With so many distractions, where do you start and what do you do?

Change starts with identifying and isolating habits that lead to a loss of productive time, such as answering emails or responding to social media posts. Here are some of the ways you can help your teams be more efficient without micromanaging their every move:

  • Add a second monitor — one for the current workspace and the other to manage side conversations and conduct online research.
  • Create a standard meeting template that requires a meeting facilitator, scribe to take notes and a timer to make sure meetings start and end on time.
  • Encourage workers to block out time on their calendars for focus-work time.
  • Institute meeting-free zones every day or a meeting-free day once a week.
  • Use a web-based project management tool, so workers know what is expected of them when tasks are due and who needs to be informed of their progress.
  • Get conversations out of email and move them to a collaborative digital workspace, such as a company-managed intranet or a web-based productivity tool.
  • Empower staff to use signals when they are not to be disturbed, especially if you have open workspaces. A hand-printed “please do not disturb” sign can deter even the chattiest of workers.

Step 2: Provide tools to help your employees focus

There are things built into your operating systems to help lessen distraction time and keep employees on task. The Microsoft’s Edge browser on Windows 10 features Reading Mode, which clears distractions and helps readers and workers focus only on the important tasks at hand.

Sometimes, you can do this without any technology at all and keep employees from being distracted by using old-school solutions like signs, keeping office doors closed, wearing headphones or a selection of other helpful actions.

Productivity levels can also be proactively managed by helping to lower stress levels. The less stressed employees are, the more productive they are. Slowing things down and focusing on positivity, taking time for self-care and even making sure employees are well-rested are all important factors.

When it comes to ensuring everyone’s needs are properly met in the workplace, you have to consider just about every angle. While you can’t please everyone, at least meet basic needs and provide a safe and positive atmosphere.

Improve your workplace with Dell today and visit for more information and ideas on how to keep your employees hustling, bustling and productive.

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