Digital Distraction in the Workplace

Resist Digital Distraction

Digital distraction is rampant in most workplaces and it often results in treating colleagues poorly.  Having technology available 24/7 can have its advantages but it should not be an excuse for rude behavior.

  • Meeting Etiquette – If you are required to be in a meeting, be present and engaged.  Contribute to the discussion.  Checking your emails or surfing the web is still considered rude and disrespectful to the others in the meeting.  If you really don’t need to be in the meeting, address that issue in advance.  If you are there, be present.
  • Interruption Etiquette – Most people do not pick up their phone if it rings during a meeting with a colleague.  Why then do they think it is ok to pick up a call phone or check when an email ding sounds?  It sends the message to the person you are meeting with that they are not important and that your time is better spent on other things.  If you are expecting an emergency or critical call, let them know upfront, otherwise pick up the message after your meeting.
  • Avoiding Conversations – Ever received an email from someone in the next cube or just down the hall?  It is easy to hide behind email to avoid conversations that may be difficult or unpleasant.  Get up from your desk and have the conversation.  Watch the reaction of the person as you deliver the feedback or bad news.  Ask follow-up questions and provide additional information as appropriate.  Often more thorough communication at the front end, avoids misunderstandings and issues down the road.
  • Consider your Surroundings – Just because you can make a call anytime from anywhere doesn’t mean you should!  Does someone really need to listen to the restroom sounds in the background while on a call with you?  Wait until you step out to make the call.  Consider the time and the background noise before making a call.
  • Manage Expectations- Just because a colleague is on email at midnight doesn’t mean you have to respond at 12:01!  Manage expectations.  Unless your job requires emergency access 24/7 manage the times you check messages and respond.  Manage expectations.  Let people know if you will be out of the office or tied up in meetings by using your out of office message so you manage their expectations about your response time.

Sometimes the best way to boost productivity is to unplug and focus!


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