Research shows that the average employee is interrupted every 3 minutes or 50 to 60 times daily. Unfortunately, most of these interruptions are unimportant and offer no value to the company. The worst part is that workplace distractions and disruptions are not only making employees less productive but also significantly contributing to workplace stress, according to experts. This can be a major barrier to business progress. So, how can business owners reduce workplace disruption and improve productivity? Here are four effective ways.
1. Reduce office noise levels
Workplace ambiance noise, especially in open office spaces, is pretty common. Everyday working practices generate noise which builds up quickly as the day progresses. While many workers may be used to workplace noise, studies have shown that it diminishes productivity. Identifying and tackling the major contributing factors is a good way to reduce office noise. For example, are there too many short meetings? Put an end to them. Are the photocopy machines too noisy? Get them serviced. Do people move about too much? Is the busy street noise flooding the office space? Make acoustic upgrades to your office space. For example, you can take advantage of the acoustic properties of fire rated windows to seal off outside noise and create a working space with minimal sound disruptions.
2. Encourage your workers to set task time limits
Email notifications, social media alerts, several calls, and coffee breaks— all these tiny distractions can quickly add up to eat out a chunk of your employees’ work time. One way to limit these disruptions or their effect is to encourage your workers to set time limits on their tasks. That will help them focus on a task until it’s completed before attending to anything else. For example, if a task should take an hour to complete, you can encourage your worker to turn off all notifications on the phone during that period until they complete their task. This approach will also help your workers use their time efficiently.
3. Balance employee collaboration and privacy
The traditional office setup with privacy cubicles appears to be fading away, as many businesses are opting for more open workspaces to enhance collaboration and ideas sharing. But both office setups have their flaws. A traditional office space with cubicles can create cramped spaces, and an open workspace comes with many distractions. The trick is to balance both office setups to promote employee collaboration while offering privacy when needed. Your office setup can have spaces for group work and meetings. But there should also be privacy cubicles for those who need to complete concentration to work.
4. Let your employees decide where they want to work
Not every task needs to be conducted in the office space, especially not when there are too many disruptions at work. Depending on the nature of assigned tasks, allow your workers to choose where they want to work, especially if the work can be done remotely. If someone finds more focus working from home or in a coffee shop, give them that flexibility, as long as it guarantees better results and increased productivity.
Attending business events can be a fantastic tool to boost your career and chances of reaching new clients. Indeed, from trading shows to workshops, events can help you gather like-minded professionals who share the same values and interests. So, as a professional, if you are going to build a powerful network, your priority is to attend top quality events.
How does one recognize a valuable event? More often than not, the list of attendants and the activity schedule can provide insightful clues into what you can expect. Additionally, it can be a good idea to consider the event organizers. Indeed, professional organizers such as www.catalystevents.com.au have a long experience in running successful events for a variety of organizations. Therefore, you can trust a seasoned organizer with activity planning, service management, and attendant comfort and safety. Chances are that other participants and visitors will be suitable interlocutors to grow your professional network.
Don't be your own enemy
Networking can be challenging. But, as a rule of thumb, the most successful networkers are those who do not let social and professional fears stand in their way. Indeed, being afraid of reaching out and meeting new people doesn't just affect your ability to network. It can also make you more likely to be overlooked by recruiters or managers because people tend to remember those they interacted with.
Practice your lines
It can be awkward to introduce yourself at an event. But you can work on your introduction line to make your first move easier. Introducing yourself by name only may not be sufficient. Instead, you may need to set up the context, so people can easily build a connection. For instance, you could comment on a specific conference you attended with other participants and ask about their opinions. Alternatively, you can also state your name and company before explaining what you want to achieve from the event. Context makes you unforgettable and can bring you and your interlocutors closer.
Have a confidence booster with you
Whether you call it your feel-good item or your lucky charm, we all need a mood booster. It goes without saying that meeting new people can be daunting. So, you may feel more confident if you take something that puts a smile on your lips, whether it is the tie your kids got you for your latest birthday or a sweet note your partner left for you.
Be knowledgeable about the event and its participants
How do you know who you should talk to when attending an event? It can be a good idea to do your homework and carefully research each participant if the list is public. You can check company names and team profiles to recognize people.
You can also consider LinkedIn research, so you can identify the most valuable contacts to talk to. It will also make it a lot easier to remember people's names and engage in conversations when you already have a good idea of their needs and interests.
Networking can significantly benefit your career, helping you meet potential clients, future partners, or even employers. A solid network can open the doors to many unexpected opportunities. Yet, you need to seize the chance to turn event attendance into a networking sport that delivers career growth!
After a long period of hibernation, networking events are back and back in a big way. Businesses denied the opportunity of making new connections face to face are keen to get their people, products and pitches back on the road.
Here are a couple of tips to make the most of each event you attend and feel comfortable sharing who you are, with anyone, wherever you go. If you'd like to read more, here's a related blog post.
Research your event
Make sure you know who is speaking (and about what), the other companies represented in the room and make a mental shortlist of who you want to connect with and how your business relates to the topics being discussed.
Know how to break the ice
Have a set of rehearsed relaxed icebreakers ready to go. This can be as simple as “hi, how’s your day going?”. Or, you can try adding a bright item to your wardrobe which allows people to strike up a conversation around this talking point.
Prioritise asking questions and listening over selling
Asking questions in the right way and practicing effective listening showcases your emotional intelligence skills. Not only that, listening is proven to make you appear more charming to others.
Treat event breaks like ad breaks
This is a great tactic and removes the temptation to reach for your phone during breaks. When there is an intermission at the event, try turning to the person next to you and seeing if they have plans for lunch or want to grab a coffee.
Know when to move on
As hard as it can be to strike up a conversation, there is nothing more excruciating than being stuck in a conversational dead end. If you’re ready to end the conversation, do so in a friendly non-abrupt way. Don’t make it feel like you’re brushing them off, exchange your contact details and retire with “it was really nice to meet you, I hope we can connect again”.
Take advantage of apps
When networking, technology is your friend. Not just for sharing your professional identity but for logging your contacts, making notes about who you met and creating a platform for further contact.
There is no better way to do this than with Blinq digital business cards. With Blinq you can share your business cards in a way that works for you. You can share via the top rated iOS or Android apps, smartphone widgets or even via your Apple Watch.
Bling digital business cards make a positive reflection on your business and are a brilliant extension of your brand experience, helping you stand out and be memorable in moments that matter.
Grow your network and your business with Blinq.
As a business owner, you know you should be networking. We are not going to list all of the benefits of doing it because we know that you know the importance. The problem is actually doing it. Networking takes a degree of confidence that not everyone has. Perhaps you are a bit of an introvert and the thought of striking up a conversation with someone that you do not know brings a sense of terror. It can also feel more than a little spammy if not done quite right. Here, we look at some tips to make networking a little bit easier and more comfortable, and dare we say it - fun?
Business owners on the whole are savvy. That’s why they own their own business! They can spot an insincere and fake personality front he get-go, so it is important to go into networking being your real self. You are good enough - that is why you are here in the first palace. Plus, networking is about making connections with like-minded people who you can help and who can help you, and if you are not being you, how do you know whether you will click?
Be ready to network at any given opportunity - you never quite know when you will meet someone who could be valuable to you. It might be at the school gate, the bar, or the doctor’s office. Being ready is important, but be careful not to turn every single person you meet into a potential customer. That can be offputting. Instead, have business card on your person at all times, or if you want to be really snazzy, digital business cards! Remember to be professional at all times - watch your language while you are out and about and be mindful of your behavior. There could be a potential client watching you!
Know when to jump in
Nothing quite kills a conversation or an opportunity than barging into a conversation and taking over. It can leave a bad taste and completely destroy the flow. Smile, listen in, and get an idea of what is being talked about before offering your thoughts and opinions. No one likes a bulldozer!
Stop saying sorry
A key mistake that those lacking in networking experience or confidence tend to make is to apologize. Stop! You are not imposing on anyone; you are building a relationship with someone that can be mutually beneficial. By apologizing, you look inexperienced, unprofessional, and lacking in confidence which are all offputting traits in a business person. You are not asking them to do you a favor, you are asking for help or support which in turn will give them an advantage in one way or another.
Most importantly, smile and look friendly. Even if you are uncomfortable and hate networking, plaster a smile on your face and try to make it look genuine. No one is going to come and chat with you if you are frowning or grimacing or looking like you would rather be anywhere else. Be approachable.
Author - Chris
Author, Editor, Creator of this website.