For many employees, the work they do can be repetitive. Despite the importance of each individual’s job role, this may cause them to have trouble focusing at work. While distracted workers may come off as unproductive and unmotivated, this is not necessarily the case.
As the leader of your organization, it is your duty to assist employees who have trouble focusing at work. Much of an employee’s attention issues could stem from burnout, which is considered a medical phenomenon by the World Health Organization (WHO). Burnout can be attributed to causing other health conditions associated with anxiety and stress.
A WHO study shows that stress accounts for $1 trillion in lost productivity in the global workforce each year.
Here are a few tips for you to help your employees who are experiencing disruption in their attention.
While it may be easy for you to say, “Get back to work,” it’s not that simple for your employees. You should give your best effort at mentoring and advocating for those struggling at work. Consider posing a few questions to your employees:
- What are you tired of?
- What would make the biggest difference to you?
- What’s something that would disappoint you if you did not accomplish it by the end of the year?
- What can you do this week to move closer to your goals?
If you ask your employees a few general questions, it will prompt them to think deeper about their jobs and what motivates them to complete tasks and projects.
It’s also important for you to conduct regular evaluations with your employees. With the help of an evaluation template, you can gain a better understanding of what works and what needs to be changed in order for your employees to succeed.
Be Mindful of Scheduling
Your employees have the difficult task of balancing work and meetings. It’s important that they aren’t overwhelmed by multiple daily meetings or their workload. Of course, there are instances when you can’t avoid meetings being pushed closely together. However, it’s of the utmost importance to consider giving employees at least 15-20 minutes between meetings or an hour of “dead time” each day.
It will also be helpful to teach your employees who are struggling to focus at work about assigning energy levels. Each task on an employee’s to-do list can be ranked within a hierarchy of importance to help someone who is having a rough day determine which tasks should take precedence.
If you have an employee who is struggling, have them work on tasks that are deemed “low energy” tasks that aren’t priority and can be completed with ease.
Eliminate Digital Distractions
It’s nearly impossible to escape technology. It is a necessity that your employees understand the importance of disconnecting and organization.
Employees who struggle to focus also need to be conscious of cyberloafing, or spending prolonged periods of time browsing the internet during work hours on non-work-related tasks. Cyberloafing is so abundant in the workplace that it costs U.S. businesses up to $85 billion a year, according to a University of Nevada study.
In terms of disconnecting, propose that your employees put their phone on do-not-disturb settings. It will also be impactful for your employees to set time in their schedule to check emails. You can’t hide from them as we currently send approximately 200 billion emails each day. With all of the email traffic, the threat of spending too much time on them is real, thus, allotting time to work on them will help.
Seek Moments of Joy Throughout the Day
Your employees are prone to pressuring themselves, even if you aren’t putting pressure on them. Overwhelming pressure can strain their mood, causing them to lose focus. Clearly communicate your expectations and check in with employees who may be struggling to find a balance to see how you can help them.
As the leader of your company, you need to provide enough time for breaks during the day for employees to have their lunch, take a walk outside, or even find a quiet place to relax. These small moments for them to step away from their work can have a great impact on their stress levels and happiness. Employees who are struggling to focus need to know that they can come to you for help. If an employee doesn’t believe they can speak to a supervisor during stressful times, it will have a negative effect on their happiness.
Employees who feel they’re being overworked need to be reassured that working on one task at a time is perfectly fine and they will have adequate time to complete the others.
If you need more help with your defocused employees, consider working with a professional employer organization (PEO) like Vensure Employer Services. PEOs are masters of human resources and can provide a wide range of resources like burnout handbooks, write-up forms, and 401(k) guides.