Keeping Focus: Doing Away With Distractions
Thursday 10/27/16

Picture a customer walking over to a salesperson with a question.  When the customer tries to get her attention, the saleswoman, who is chatting on her cell phone, apologizes to the person on the line and tells her to hold on, saying, “One minute, sorry, I have to help a customer now.”  She impatiently answers the customer’s question and continues chatting! Well, rest assured that that store lost a customer…

Obviously, this is an extreme example. A recent customer survey, however, revealed excessive smartphone use by employees. Customers feel like an interruption when they are greeted by an employee on their smartphone. Even if not actually talking on the phone, just checking private emails or catching up on social media is a very real distraction. Smartphones should never be seen by customers – who, by default, will view themselves as a competing interest.


How is company productivity affected by employees surfing the Internet?

While technology has definitely enhanced our lives in many ways, many business owners agree that ironically, it considerably decreases office productivity. Shopping and browsing online and social media sites cause employees to fritter away company time and disrupts the concentration needed to get a job done. For those servicing clients, these distractions cause slower responsiveness to customers, which translates into inferior service. This can eventually damage the company’s standing and affect its bottom line.

Aside from browsing online, texting too can be a major distraction. We are familiar with the saying, “Don’t text and drive.” This refers to the compulsive need to respond to a text as soon as the “Ping!” indicating arrival of a new text goes off, which is obviously hazardous on the road. Similarly, an employee who is preoccupied with texting will automatically be less focused on the needs of the customer.

Though it may seem as if only the employee’s work in question suffers, individual distractions actually add up and affect the company as a whole. According to Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder, “When there is a pattern of distractions that eat up a significant chunk of the workday, it can have greater implications for overall performance. Losses in productivity can have a domino effect, negatively impacting revenue and client relationships, among other things.”

Take some conscious steps to cut out distractions. Your company’s bottom line will thank you for it!