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Minimizing Workplace Distractions

Posted on 5/2/2018 by Michael Zamora
As much as you may wish it were true, the fact is that no employee is 100% engaged in their job 100% of the time. Distractions pop up all over the place - from employee small talk to personal cell phone usage. Keeping your employees engaged by setting realistic expectations is a solid approach for ensuring that your employees are producing the highest-quality work. Here are some suggestions for minimizing distractions:

1. Reduce distracting sounds
Music and television can be distracting to your employees, but can be relaxing for your patients. A good way to balance out these needs is by reducing sound, or making sounds less distracting. For example, if you have a TV in your waiting room that can be heard by your employees, consider muting the television and using closed captioning instead. In addition, if you have music in your office, consider classical or instrumental options to reduce distracting lyrics.

2. Implement cell phone policies
This is a big one. People are naturally accustomed to looking at their cell phones for everything from checking the time to perusing social media. A detailed cell phone policy - such as requiring cell phones be kept tucked away during working hours or explicitly restricting cell phone use to personal time, such as meal and rest breaks - can help to reduce these distractions. Additionally, you can advise your employees to register the office phone in cases of emergency so they can be reached as necessary. Generally speaking, your employees should understand that personal cell phone use is strictly prohibited during work hours and that any violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action.

3. Minimizing office gossip
Finally, cutting down on office chatter can really help to minimize distractions. This is not to say that your employees shouldn’t speak to one another, of course. But imagine the effect if, while in a patient’s room, two employees begin complaining to one another about their kids, their spouse, or another worker. Not only is this unprofessional, but it can lead to oversights and a reduction in care. The best way to approach this issue is to remind your employees that personal conversations should be discussed on personal time, such as meal and rest breaks. Although this is a difficult rule to implement, the benefits can make patient experiences more pleasant, and will result in an increase of overall work production.

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