The office can be a difficult place to achieve focus at times, with deadlines doing battle with ringing phones, unnecessarily loud personal conversations and inexplicably loud chewing. Yes, this extremely connected world of ours is constantly vying for our attention, leaving us dangerously susceptible to procrastination and ever less likely to achieve the kind of lofty goals we set for ourselves each Sunday morning.
For businesses, this is understandably cause for some concern – after all, it’s all very well to talk and tweet and post about what you’re doing, but when and how do you get around to actually doing it? Subtly encouraging employees to put in overtime tends to be a widely enforced strategy, but if you want your workforce fully functional and devoid of bitter resentment, you might want to take a lead from global corporations like IBM and Intel, who use ‘quiet time’ policies to great effect.
Quiet time essentially means blocking out a portion of the day – be it half an hour or two hours – in which employees are encouraged to switch off their emails, phones and social networks so as to channel focus into whatever project requires their undivided attention.
If you’re a business leader, you’re probably getting twitchy just thinking about leaving your clients hanging for hours at a time. But remember, you don’t need to initiate a company-wide shutdown each and every day. Depending on your deliverables, you could opt to stagger quiet time based on time periods known to be less frenetic, or follow the example of more militantly quiet companies, who only allow their staff to deal with emails twice daily.
Intel’s quiet time programme for example, did away with meetings, phone calls and all disturbances for four solid hours each Tuesday morning, and has proven enormously successful, with the company reporting a significant boost in productivity as well as a marked improvement in overall employee morale since its launch.
Whichever approach you choose to adopt, it’s certainly worth considering some sort of technological blackout for your employees if you’re hoping to achieve optimal business efficiency. Here are just some of the benefits of quiet time:
Studies have shown that optimal efficiency can only be achieved by channelling focus into one thing at any given time. And while quiet time is unlikely to do away with distractions entirely, it will free up your employees to get things done, and allow them to dedicate themselves to a chosen task without having to worry about the repercussions of ignoring those relentless emails.
Affording your employees more time to get on top of their to-do lists will also instil a greater sense of calm in your workplace, enabling employees to feel less frazzled and overwhelmed by their roles. By reducing panic and chaos, you’ll facilitate a far less stressed work environment, leaving employees feeling far more motivated and inspired to go the extra mile for your business.
Free up the information overload and you’ll soon start to see your employees thinking more clearly and creatively. With fewer distractions, your workforce will have more time to focus on getting the job done well rather than simply getting it done in time, which will likely result in better executions.
A consultation with the Engage Me team will provide multiple means and methods to improve your employee engagement. www.engageme.online