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Colleagues in an open plan office, hr

The top three things distracting your employees

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Maximising employee productivity is at the top of most companies’ wish list. But while everyone agrees they’d like to get the most out of their staff, opinions differ on how to do so exactly.

Does offering flexible working arrangements such as telecommuting result in happier, more productive staff? Or are your employees at their best when they’re working together as a team in the office? And is an open office space key to fostering a collaborative environment, or does it take away people’s ability to focus?

The results of a recent survey by property company Clarendon London go some way to answering that last question. The survey asked 2,000 UK employees to name their greatest workplace distractions, and found that not technology, but other people pose the biggest distraction at work.

Just over a fifth (20.3%) of respondents indicated that colleagues were their biggest source of distraction, due to things like workplace gossip or repeatedly being asked questions. Technology did follow closely behind, with 19.2% listing mobile phones as a distraction, while social media and personal emails were cited by 11.1% and 10.6% respectively.

There’s no denying that open plan offices can be a good use of space, especially in cities like Hong Kong where real estate is pricey. If your office is designed to be open plan, however, you may want to give some thought as to how you can help your employees avoid distractions and make the most of their working environment.

If possible, provide smaller rooms that can be used for meetings, but also for employees to isolate themselves from the daily office hustle and bustle. Another option is to reevaluate who sits next to whom. While it may seem logical to simply allocate desks based on which department people work in, placing the right type of workers close to each other could result in a 15% increase in organisational performance.

Finally, there’s the option of joining the hot desking trend, allowing employees to move around within the office depending on their needs.

ALSO READ: The productivity secrets of successful HR leaders

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