Managers It’s Time to Stop Distracting Your Employees
It’s no secret companies spy on their staff. A recent New York Times article stated that 8 of the 10 largest American companies surveil their employees with tracking software. According to The Washington Post, global demand for employee monitoring tools increased by 65% from 2019 to 2022.
The rise of remote work has made corporate leaders paranoid, thinking they must monitor their employees’ every digital move.
Employee productivity software often measures vanity metrics, such as how many emails employees send, virtual meetings they attend, and how much time they spend typing on their computer keyboards. It doesn’t track tasks away from the computer — disregarding time spent thinking, reading or writing on paper, for example — or measure accomplishments and outcomes. Not even the leaders of productivity software approve of this use case for their apps.
Managers play a crucial role in the success of a business, but they can also be a source of distraction for their employees. Distractions can come in many forms, from interruptions during meetings to unrealistic deadlines and constant changes in direction. In this article, we will discuss some of the common ways managers distract their employees and what can be done to mitigate these distractions.
One of the most common ways managers distract their employees is through constant interruptions. This can include interrupting employees during meetings, not allowing them to finish their thoughts, and constantly checking in on their progress. This type of distraction can be particularly frustrating for employees who are trying to focus on a specific task or project. To combat this type of distraction, managers can set clear boundaries around when and how they will communicate with their employees. They can also schedule regular check-ins and stick to them, rather than constantly dropping in unannounced.
Another way managers distract their employees is through unrealistic deadlines and constant changes in direction. When employees are constantly being asked to shift their focus or are given unrealistic deadlines, they can become overwhelmed and stressed, which can negatively impact their productivity. To mitigate this type of distraction, managers can communicate clearly with their employees about the goals and priorities of a project. They can also work with their employees to set realistic deadlines and provide them with the resources and support they need to meet those deadlines.
In addition, Managers may distract their employees through micromanaging their work. This type of distraction can be particularly frustrating for employees who are experienced and skilled in their field and are looking for autonomy in their work. To reduce this type of distraction, managers can trust their employees to do their jobs and provide them with the resources and support they need to be successful. They can also give them the flexibility to find their own ways of completing tasks.
Finally, Managers may distract their employees through negative or toxic work environment. This type of distraction can be particularly destructive for employees, who may feel demotivated and disengaged from their work. To combat this type of distraction, managers can create a positive and inclusive work culture where employees feel valued, respected and heard. They can also provide regular feedback and recognition for a job well done.
In conclusion, managers play a crucial role in the success of a business, but they can also be a source of distraction for their employees. Distractions can come in many forms, from interruptions during meetings to unrealistic deadlines and constant changes in direction. To mitigate these distractions, managers can set clear boundaries, communicate effectively, provide realistic deadlines, trust their employees, and create positive and inclusive work culture. By addressing these distractions, managers can help their employees to be more productive and engaged in their work.
Set an example
Company culture, like water, flows downhill. People turn to their managers to know what’s expected of them. You can’t demand that your staff work without distraction if you’re constantly looking at your phone in the middle of meetings or sending emails at midnight.
So, make time for focused work yourself. Let people know when you’re available, and don’t interrupt others during their focused work or off-hours. The most critical step to building an indistractable workplace is being an indistractable boss.
While leaders may suspect the source of employee distraction is Facebook, TikTok, or Netflix, in truth, it’s more likely to be how we work. The above strategies — discussing the problem of distraction at work, adopting schedule-synching, cutting down on superfluous agenda-free meetings, and modelling what it means to be indistractable — can help you improve employee well-being and productivity by getting to the root causes of distraction at work.
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