Smartphone addicted staff interrupted every 3 minutes

by Stephanie Zillman23 Oct 2012

Back in the days of the Wild West, people used to check their armour at the door of all reputable establishments. With new statistics showing a staggering two hours is wasted by heavy smartphone users every work day – it may be time to revisit some rules of old.

The statistics, collated by specialist work management Primary Asset Consulting, showed serial worktexters are interrupted every 3 minutes by phone calls, text messages and Facebook updates. Indeed Facebook was also exposed as being twice as popular as Google in all workplace online traffic.

And while technology has increased the impulse to multitask, it has also led to an erosion of our ability to accurately estimate the time required to complete tasks in the workplace.  “People who think they can effectively multi-task by writing a report whilst also responding to emails and chatting on Facebook are fooling themselves. Interruptions and distractions pull us from a state of high productivity and greatly reduce our performance,” managing partner Cyril Peupion said.  

Yet there are some simple and effective steps HR can communicate to staff in order to encourage fewer workplace interruptions.  Managers should also practice these steps to demonstrate to staff how efficiency is guaranteed to improve, Peupion added.

YOU control your time
If an interruption occurs from a person or your mobile phone, allow 15 seconds to decipher whether to allow the interruption or not. In 85% of cases, the interruption can wait and you can schedule a time to get to it at a later stage. You decide. You need to be in control of your time, not others.

Batch
It is normal that you will need to communicate regularly with staff and colleagues. However, this constant communication can create a lot of interruptions. In order to combat this, learn to batch. Create a weekly (or relevant frequency) meeting with the people you need to liaise with. Until that meeting, batch all communication from those people you need to meet with and bring it all to the meeting to discuss. This will save time and decrease interruptions.

Uninterrupted time
Book meeting with yourself. There are times when you should simply not allow any interruptions unless the building is on fire. Find a way to shut off in a quiet meeting room or cafe or shut the office door and set aside time to complete tasks. During this time, switch off your mobile and email, and divert the phone. The world will manage without you for an hour or two!

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