How to keep your workers focused on work (and not their phones)

How to keep your workers focused on work (and not their phones)

Free Book Preview: Unstoppable

How to keep your workers focused on work (and not their phones)

The smartphone is arguably one of the best and worst technological advancements in recent years. Thanks to the smartphone, people have quick access to information and apps that make their lives easier. But these devices are also an addictive productivity-killer.

In a 2016 CareerBuilder survey of more than 3,000 employees, 82 percent of respondents said they keep their smartphones within eyeshot while working. Understandably, that degree of proximity contributed to 55 percent of respondents also calling cellphones and texting the biggest distraction in the office.

But that problem won’t change: Too many companies now use mobile apps as part of their day-to-day operations. And that means that most employers simply can’t ban smartphones from the office. However, they can teach employees to be more accountable when it comes to cellphone use.

Here are four ways to help employees stay focused on their work instead of their smartphones:

1. Emphasize accountability in the hiring process.

The key to helping employees resist the temptation their phone presents is accountability. A manager can’t — and shouldn’t — be hovering over them all the time to make sure they’re working on what they’re supposed to be working on. Employees simply need to judge what is an appropriate time to check their phones, and what isn’t.

To help them form that judgment, build accountability into the company culture through the hiring process. Screen job-seekers for characteristics that show they can keep their smartphone usage in check. For example, during the interview process, ask candidates how they manage their time. Questions about how they prioritize tasks and how long it takes them to complete certain tasks will show if they can stay focused or easily veer off track.

Also, rethink the traditional “biggest weakness” question. The answer to that can provide a lot of information, but one thing people forget to consider is what it says about accountability. A potential employee who owns up to his or her weaknesses or flaws and shows a conscious effort to overcome them is likely to be more disciplined.

Tie accountability into your quality of hiring metrics and over time you’ll find easier to recognize candidates who are better at staying productive.

2. Remind employees to take breaks.

In many cases, employees glance over at their phones simply because they need a break. And that’s a good thing: They need a moment to rest their brain and step away from whatever it is they’ve been working on.

However, they don’t always feel comfortable taking an obvious moment to refocus because they’re worried their boss will think they’re lazy. So, instead of getting up and moving around for a few minutes, they’ll sneak a look at their phone and get sucked into all the distractions it has to offer.

A 2016 Staples Business Advantage Survey of more than 3,100 employees found that 52 percent of respondents thought that being encouraged by their employer to take breaks throughout the day would keep them from getting burnt out at work. So, let employees know that it’s acceptable to take time to recharge. Set times throughout the day when everyone gets up and walks around the office for a bit.

Other options are to have short activities an employee can do when their brains are getting tired. For example, provide adult coloring books or puzzles in the break room. When employees need a minute away from their desks, they can engage another part of the brain. Even if they last for only a few minutes, those brief breaks will do wonders for productivity.

3. Provide feedback on work priorities.

Sometimes, employees turn to their phones because they’re not sure what else to do. Maybe they’re stuck on a problem or unsure where to start with their task list, so they get distracted by whatever notification just popped up on their phone.

Give employees more direction by helping them set goals for themselves. A 2015 Gallup survey of 27 million employees found that of the employees who felt strongly that their managers helped them set work priorities, 66 percent were engaged.

Be specific about your workplace objectives. Setting a deadline for a large project is not enough. Break down big goals into small achievable steps. That way, instead of feeling overwhelmed by where to begin, employees can stay motivated and focused on the work they do.

4. Recognize hard work.

Incessant cell phone use can also be a sign of apathy in the workplace. If a formerly productive employee now spends a large part of the day on his or her phone, it’s likely that this individual feels no incentive to do the work. And that’s a reflection of poor recognition within the organization.

In a 2016 Society for Human Resource Management survey of 600 U.S. employees, 48 percent of employees said management’s recognition of their job performance was very important to their job satisfaction. However, only 26 percent of respondents were satisfied with how they were acknowledged.

If employees’ hard work isn’t being recognized, they have no reason not to spend time on their phone. Their productivity will go unnoticed and unappreciated, so why not play games on those phones instead?

Make sure employees feel appreciated, even for the little things. Whether it’s through a formal or informal recognition program, be sure managers are taking the time to acknowledge their team. Small things like company newsletters or social media posts that profile different employees are a great place to start.

Overall, smartphones are a part of life now. They’re going to be in the office, and employees are going to check them from time to time. But that doesn’t mean they can’t learn the skills necessary to have control over their own productivity.

How to keep your workers focused on work (and not their phones)

Free Book Preview: Unstoppable

How to keep your workers focused on work (and not their phones)

The smartphone is arguably one of the best and worst technological advancements in recent years. Thanks to the smartphone, people have quick access to information and apps that make their lives easier. But these devices are also an addictive productivity-killer.

In a 2016 CareerBuilder survey of more than 3,000 employees, 82 percent of respondents said they keep their smartphones within eyeshot while working. Understandably, that degree of proximity contributed to 55 percent of respondents also calling cellphones and texting the biggest distraction in the office.

But that problem won’t change: Too many companies now use mobile apps as part of their day-to-day operations. And that means that most employers simply can’t ban smartphones from the office. However, they can teach employees to be more accountable when it comes to cellphone use.

Here are four ways to help employees stay focused on their work instead of their smartphones:

1. Emphasize accountability in the hiring process.

The key to helping employees resist the temptation their phone presents is accountability. A manager can’t — and shouldn’t — be hovering over them all the time to make sure they’re working on what they’re supposed to be working on. Employees simply need to judge what is an appropriate time to check their phones, and what isn’t.

To help them form that judgment, build accountability into the company culture through the hiring process. Screen job-seekers for characteristics that show they can keep their smartphone usage in check. For example, during the interview process, ask candidates how they manage their time. Questions about how they prioritize tasks and how long it takes them to complete certain tasks will show if they can stay focused or easily veer off track.

Also, rethink the traditional “biggest weakness” question. The answer to that can provide a lot of information, but one thing people forget to consider is what it says about accountability. A potential employee who owns up to his or her weaknesses or flaws and shows a conscious effort to overcome them is likely to be more disciplined.

Tie accountability into your quality of hiring metrics and over time you’ll find easier to recognize candidates who are better at staying productive.

2. Remind employees to take breaks.

In many cases, employees glance over at their phones simply because they need a break. And that’s a good thing: They need a moment to rest their brain and step away from whatever it is they’ve been working on.

However, they don’t always feel comfortable taking an obvious moment to refocus because they’re worried their boss will think they’re lazy. So, instead of getting up and moving around for a few minutes, they’ll sneak a look at their phone and get sucked into all the distractions it has to offer.

A 2016 Staples Business Advantage Survey of more than 3,100 employees found that 52 percent of respondents thought that being encouraged by their employer to take breaks throughout the day would keep them from getting burnt out at work. So, let employees know that it’s acceptable to take time to recharge. Set times throughout the day when everyone gets up and walks around the office for a bit.

Other options are to have short activities an employee can do when their brains are getting tired. For example, provide adult coloring books or puzzles in the break room. When employees need a minute away from their desks, they can engage another part of the brain. Even if they last for only a few minutes, those brief breaks will do wonders for productivity.

3. Provide feedback on work priorities.

Sometimes, employees turn to their phones because they’re not sure what else to do. Maybe they’re stuck on a problem or unsure where to start with their task list, so they get distracted by whatever notification just popped up on their phone.

Give employees more direction by helping them set goals for themselves. A 2015 Gallup survey of 27 million employees found that of the employees who felt strongly that their managers helped them set work priorities, 66 percent were engaged.

Be specific about your workplace objectives. Setting a deadline for a large project is not enough. Break down big goals into small achievable steps. That way, instead of feeling overwhelmed by where to begin, employees can stay motivated and focused on the work they do.

4. Recognize hard work.

Incessant cell phone use can also be a sign of apathy in the workplace. If a formerly productive employee now spends a large part of the day on his or her phone, it’s likely that this individual feels no incentive to do the work. And that’s a reflection of poor recognition within the organization.

In a 2016 Society for Human Resource Management survey of 600 U.S. employees, 48 percent of employees said management’s recognition of their job performance was very important to their job satisfaction. However, only 26 percent of respondents were satisfied with how they were acknowledged.

If employees’ hard work isn’t being recognized, they have no reason not to spend time on their phone. Their productivity will go unnoticed and unappreciated, so why not play games on those phones instead?

Make sure employees feel appreciated, even for the little things. Whether it’s through a formal or informal recognition program, be sure managers are taking the time to acknowledge their team. Small things like company newsletters or social media posts that profile different employees are a great place to start.

Overall, smartphones are a part of life now. They’re going to be in the office, and employees are going to check them from time to time. But that doesn’t mean they can’t learn the skills necessary to have control over their own productivity.

Etiquette Tips for Using Your Phone on the Job

Who doesn’t love the convenience of a cell phone? Your family and friends can reach you at any time, for any reason, no matter where you are. even at work. While that accessibility may be a great way to stay in touch with your loved ones during the day, fixating on your phone will distract you from doing your job, and it may annoy your boss or coworkers. Assuming your employer doesn’t have a rule forbidding cell phone use at work, here are some rules to follow:

Put Your Phone Away

How to keep your workers focused on work (and not their phones)

Excessive cell phone use at work can interfere with productivity. Even if your employer doesn’t ban their use, it’s a good idea to limit yourself. Avoid temptation by keeping your phone in a desk drawer and checking it only occasionally to make sure you haven’t missed any critical calls.

Turn Off Your Ringer

How to keep your workers focused on work (and not their phones)

Silence your ringer. If family members often have to get in touch during the workday, set your phone on vibrate and put it in your pocket. You will know when someone is calling or texting and can discretely take the call or answer a text privately. Your coworkers won’t be bothered every time your phone rings or dings and, most importantly, your boss won’t find out how many calls you get at work.

Alternatively, buy a smartwatch and have it alert you to incoming calls and messages. Some activity trackers can be set to work with cell phones too.

Use Your Cell Phone for Important Calls Only

How to keep your workers focused on work (and not their phones)

Should you chitchat with your friend, mom, or significant other while at work? Save those casual conversations for your drive home (hands-free, of course) or your break. There are very few calls that can’t wait.

If the school nurse is calling to say your child is ill, it is okay to deal with that as soon as possible. Almost any boss would be understanding about answering a call when there is a family emergency. However, if your BFF wants to talk about weekend plans, do it from home.

Inform anyone who is likely to call about every little thing, that you won’t be able to answer the phone. So if your dog has an accident on the rug, whoever is home with her can deal with it instead of letting you know immediately. When your cousin Tilly gets engaged, your mom can share the happy news after the workday is over.

Let Voicemail Pick Up Your Calls

How to keep your workers focused on work (and not their phones)

Instead of answering calls immediately, set up your phone to have them all go to voicemail. Check your messages regularly and respond to them based on their urgency.

It is important to note that this system is not ideal when someone is counting on you to respond to emergencies immediately, for example, if you are their primary caregiver. However, it is an effective way to deal with non-urgent calls that don’t require your immediate attention.

Find a Private Place to Make Cell Phone Calls

How to keep your workers focused on work (and not their phones)

Although making personal calls during a break is fine, find a private place to do it. Find a spot where others—those who are working or also on break—won’t be disturbed. Make sure no one can overhear your conversation, especially if you are discussing personal things.

Don’t Bring Your Cell Phone Into the Restroom

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Mel Yates/Getty Images

Whether at work or anywhere else for that matter, this is an essential rule of cell phone etiquette. Why? Well, if you must ask—it is rude to both the person on the other end of the phone and anyone using the bathroom. Sounds travel and out of respect for your coworkers, allow them to maintain their privacy. As for the person with whom you are speaking, they don’t need to feel like they are in the bathroom with you.

Don’t Look at Your Phone During Meetings Unless.

How to keep your workers focused on work (and not their phones)

In addition to using cell phones to talk or text, they have become an essential work tool. With that in mind, this rule should read “Don’t Use Your Phone at Meetings Unless It is for Something Related to the Meeting” Use your apps as needed—for example, to add things to your calendar or take notes.

However, while you are sitting at a meeting, do not text, check your social media news feeds, post your status, or play games. Don’t bury your nose in your phone. Keep your eyes up and stay engaged. Doing anything else will be a clear signal to your boss that your mind isn’t completely on the business at hand.

Question:

How can I keep my employees from using their phones.

– Tim Shanahan, Chef/Owner, Shanahan’s, Forest Park, Ill.

Answer:

While my editors reserve the right to edit your question, I hope they leave in your nine question marks, as it both represents an Advice Guy record and underscores your exasperation. Fighting phone addiction is something I’m struggling with at school, work, and especially at home as the father of teenagers. And I know I’m an offender as well.

Your question also reminds me that, for the first time in my history, a friend and I left our neighborhood bar after only one round of drinks. It was not for lack of trying. It was a slow night and the two bartenders were both preoccupied with their devices and didn’t notice our empty glasses and thirsty glances. Sure, we could have gotten their attention, but to do so seems at odds with the very nature of hospitality. We left cash and walked out without so much as a thank you from them. A painful missed revenue opportunity.

When I addressed this problem in the past (in 2011), it was more about crafting a policy that can help you manage employees’ cellphone usage to an appropriate/responsible level, especially during service. Increasingly, my advice is a straight-up ban: no cellphones back of house, front of house, anywhere at work, except during official breaks. This will not be a popular policy: “What if my kid’s school calls?” “I’m expecting a call from my doctor.” I get it, but I also remember a time when people were unreachable during work hours, except in an emergency, in which case they could of course call the place of business and ask to speak with the employee. Your job is to make money providing great food and beverage to your guests and putting their experience at the fore. I don’t see how that is compatible with employee cellphone use.

Provide a secure place, even charging lockers, for employees to leave their devices. Some employees may argue that as long as they get their work done and guests don’t notice, they can keep up with texts and notifications. I think that’s the wrong way to look at it—if they can keep up in that way, they can be cleaning, helping co-workers, or taking on more responsibilities.

“My employees spend too much time on their personal cell phones during work hours. What can I do to get them to focus on their work instead?”

My HR survival tip

It seems everyone has a smart phone today and employees bringing them to work has been a challenge to business owners. Even though a cell phone is an employee’s personal property, you can control what happens at work.

I’ve worked with several clients to help control the use of cell phones. Create a policy that will provide the solution you want. How far you push it depends on what issues you’ve had. Keep in mind that you can start light and get a little tougher if the problem isn’t resolved. No matter which of the following ideas you like, make sure your policy reminds employees that they can always check their voicemails and emails while on rest and meal breaks. Some ideas include:

— Requiring employees to keep their cell phones muted and off their desk during work hours.

— Requiring employees to completely turn off their cell phones while working.

— Prohibiting employees from bringing their cell phones into the office.

People are so hooked on their cell phones, you’ll notice the panic in their eyes when you tell them to put away the phone. Don’t let an employee scare you when they say you don’t have control over their personal cell phone. You do have control over the workspace, conduct during work hours, and what is brought into your facility.

The other argument you’ll hear is that people need to be able to reach the employee in case of an emergency. The appropriate response is to remind them to give family members the company’s main number to call if there’s an emergency. Calling the company number worked in the pre-cell phone days and it still works.

It’s your business. It’s time to take control of how your employees spend their work hours.

What’s your opinion on employees and using cell phones in the workplace?

How to keep your workers focused on work (and not their phones)

You finally have your dream team together. Everyone on your vision board is now sitting in your new office and you are ready to crush all 578 of your immediate and big picture goals. With a team of this much perfection, you have a feeling those big picture items will feel not-so-big after all.

Wait, but what’s that? Is that your graphic designer on her phone? And hold on, why do you keep seeing your marketing director watch Facebook videos every 15 minutes? They can’t possibly have time for any of that.

Next thing you know, you’re freaking out over how much you’re paying them vs. what they’re spending their time doing and then you suddenly become the world’s greatest micromanager. Yikes.

Although studies say that truly productive employees should and need to take breaks, it seems counterintuitive that breaks should be this distracting and frequent.

How much is too much? When do you step in and say something?

It’s as simple as this: when deadlines are not being met.

Admit it — we all get distracted. Breaking news, group texts, and Instagram notifications all catch our eye at a moment’s unscheduled notice and sometimes we just have to give in. Your employees are the same.

It becomes an issue when they are dilly-dallying more than they are responding to your emails and it turns into a red flag when they are missing crucial deadlines.

If it starts as a mini-issue, address it in an all-hands meeting without pointing out specific culprits. Simply mention that you’ve noticed that there are a lot of distractions happening during the workday and even though you want your employees to have fun and take breaks, there are to-do’s that need to be crossed off faster than they currently are. Plus, the domino effect of an employee getting distracted and affecting their co-workers could lead to more issues and reduced productivity.

When it becomes a bigger issue, as in work not being turned in on time or aloofness during meetings, take people in for a one-on-one. Tell them exactly what you are observing and the direct results from those observations. At the end of the day, if they’re not getting their work done, it is means for termination — and no one wants that.

Remember, make these expectations clear with your team from the get-go. Assign projects with specific deadlines and from there, give them the benefit of the doubt if you catch them in a texting storm, so long as their still turning in quality and on-time work.

Smartphones, the internet, social media and emails are among the 10 biggest workplace productivity killers.

  • There are many workplace distractions that negatively impact employees.
  • Smartphones, the internet, social media and emails are among the 10 biggest workplace productivity killers, according to a study by CareerBuilder.
  • There are ways to encourage productivity at work, including taking timed breaks, working close to productive co-workers and being publicly accountable.

Technology boosts your productivity in some ways, but it hurts it in other ways, according the findings a study conducted in 2015 by CareerBuilder.

The study cited smartphones, the internet, social media and email as the primary workplace productivity killers. Specifically, more than half of the employers surveyed say the biggest distraction at work came from employees using their cell phones, while 44% said the same about employees using the internet.

However, technology can’t take all the blame for preventing employees from getting their work done. The study revealed that 37% of employers pointed to office gossip, while 27% pointed to co-workers stopping by to chat as their biggest productivity killers.

The employers who were surveyed cited the following distractions:

  1. Cellphones/texting
  2. The internet
  3. Gossip
  4. Social media
  5. Email
  6. Co-workers dropping by
  7. Meetings
  8. Smoke/snack breaks
  9. Noisy co-workers
  10. Sitting in a cubicle

“Between the internet, cellphones and co-workers, there are so many stimulants in today’s workplace; it’s easy to see how employees get sidetracked,” Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer of CareerBuilder, said in a statement.

Other workplace distractionsВ

The study also points to clutter as an inhibitor of workplace productivity. A messy workplace can impact the focus of an employee, which limits their ability to process information. Confusion and disorder are difficult to manage while trying to work, preventing employees from focusing on their current task. This usually causes an employee to feel stress and anxiety.

To combat distractions due to clutter, employees should get rid of items that are no longer needed. They should also organize papers in appropriate folders and files, or, better yet, use electronic storage methods. Document management solutions eliminate the need for physical copies while still maintaining an electronic copy of important files and documents. Electronic methods also eliminate the need for additional physical storage, such as filing cabinets, which take up space as well. В [Looking for a document management solution for your office? Read our reviews of the best document management software solutions.]

This distraction may be a bit surprising to you, but hunger can make it nearly impossible to focus. An employer should ensure their employees take breaks and have regular lunches. It might seem more productive to work through lunch and keep plugging away at work, but that is not the case. When an employee ignores their needs, they are less likely to focus on work.

How do distractions affect productivity?В

Even the smallest distractions can cause employees to take longer to complete a task. Not only does it extend the length of time it takes to complete tasks, but it can decrease the quality of their work.

When an employee is distracted, they must then shift their attention back to the task at hand.В When employees experience decreased productivity, they can feel discouraged, which, in turn, can negatively impact productivity further. В

Employees and managers may not be talking about the distractions that come up during the work day, but they should. By not addressing distractions in the workplace, and what can be done to reduce those interruptions, tension and resentment can build in the workplace, which can spill over, negatively impacting relationships between co-workers and the company’s overall culture.

Recognizing the difficulties that distractions can cause, nearly three-quarters of employers have taken at least one step to alleviate the problem. Some have instituted policies that include blocking certain websites, banning personal calls and cellphone use, instituting set lunch and break times, monitoring email and internet use, and limiting meetings, while other employers have adopted an open-space layout instead of cubicles and policies that allow employees to telecommute certain days of the workweek.В

Employers don’t have to take drastic measures, though. One of the best ways to cultivate a culture of productivity in your office is for employees to take regular breaks, Haefner said.

“Taking breaks from work throughout the day can actually be good for productivity, enabling the mind to take a break from the job at hand and re-energize you,” Haefner said. “The trick is finding the right (work-appropriate) activities that promote, rather than deplete energy.”

Haefner offers a few tips for employers to create a workplace that will boost productivity:

    Schedule breaks. Encourage employees to take breaks during the day, but be sure they set a definite ending time. This not only gives them something to look forward to, but it lets them know when it’s time to get back to work.

Work near productive people. Productivity can be contagious. Seeing how co-workers stay productive can be an inspiration to others.

Be publicly accountable. If employees can’t seem to get motivated, try having them post their goals for the day on social media. Making themselves publicly accountable will help push them to get their work finished.

  • Take a walk. If workers are having trouble concentrating, have them step outside for a 10- or 20-minute walk. Previous research has shown that light exercise can rejuvenate the brain.
  • The study was based on surveys of 2,175 hiring and human resources managers across a variety of industries and company sizes.

    Complacent workers stop recognizing that they are at risk performing certain tasks and are more easily distracted than others who are aware of danger. Any task can be hindered by distraction-related errors, but some errors are more grievous than others—and some distractions are downright deadly.

    How to keep your workers focused on work (and not their phones)

    What kinds of distractions can lead to deadly mistakes? It’s vital to realize that distractions that would be minor in most circumstances can be major when safety is an issue—and equally important to understand that many hazardous operations do not necessarily look dangerous.

    Three Deadly Distractions

    Here are three common distractions that can take workers’ minds off their task—and strategies for addressing them:

    1. Electronic devices. On May 8, 2009, the operator of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Green Line train 3612 was texting his girlfriend as he pulled into the Government Center Station in Boston. His train crashed into a stopped train without slowing, derailing one car from each train, sending 68 people to the hospital with injuries, and causing nearly $10 million dollars in damage. Both checking and composing text messages have been implicated in many work-related transportation accidents.

    Operating a motor vehicle or a piece of heavy equipment is exactly the sort of safety-critical operation we are most likely to think of. But it’s not just cell phones that can cause these problems: laptop and notebook computers and tablets are also potentially deadly distractions—even when their use on the job is required.
    Eliminate device-related distractions: Put a policy in place to ensure that workers are not required to use their cell phones, laptops, or tablets at moments when they should be focused on what they’re doing—like driving.

    1. Interruptions. In October 2009, 64-year-old John Bruce was on a raised belt loader at Al-Mubarak Airbase in Kuwait, handling baggage from a United Airlines 747, when a coworker below moved the belt loader. Bruce fell 12 feet (ft) and suffered severe head trauma; he was removed from life support several days later. A lawsuit in the case alleged that the worker who moved the belt loader was distracted at the time of the accident, because he was chatting with other workers. Something as simple as a conversation with a coworker can distract an employee at a critical moment.

    Eliminate interruptions: Create your own “sterile cockpit” rule for hazardous tasks. The term comes from the airline industry, where many routine tasks have a high disaster potential. Airlines have gone to great lengths to ensure that pilots will be fully focused during landing procedures. Pilots are trained to work together in teams when landing and are constrained by the sterile cockpit rule during landing, takeoff, taxiing, and while flying below 10,000 ft. The rule strictly limits nonessential communication and activities during those times.

    1. Divided attention. Patryzjusz Zawadowicz, a 31-year-old Polish sailor, was working two winches as his ship, the 2,600-meter Dublin Viking, was leaving Dublin on August 7, 2008. One of the winches was supposed to be heaving up the stern ramp; the other was veering the stern line.

    Zawadowicz, who was the ship’s second officer, had performed the procedure before—but this time, at a critical moment, he made a costly error: Instead of paying out slack, Zawadowicz heaved on the stern line—a mistake likely caused by the need to divide his attention between the two winches. The stern line was in poor condition, but its deficiencies had been missed during inspections. It broke, snapping back and breaking both of Zawadowicz’s legs and dislocating his shoulder. Zawadowicz later died of his injuries.
    We like to think we can multitask safely—but the truth, researchers say, is that we’re probably not doing any of those multiple tasks well. If any of the tasks you’re performing have the potential to cause serious injury, divided attention can trigger disaster.
    Eliminate divided attention: Address the problem at the planning level. When workers are required to perform potentially hazardous tasks, don’t give them more than one thing to do at a time. Either give them a stepwise procedure to follow, or give them a single task to do, but assigning multiple, potentially hazardous tasks is an invitation to disaster. Plan tasks with care, and make sure that adequately trained personnel are on hand to do them.
    In tomorrow’s Advisor, we present four ways to keep your workers engaged in their own safety.

    How to keep your workers focused on work (and not their phones)

    How to keep your workers focused on work (and not their phones)

    Every CEO, manager and business leader knows that their employees are the lifeblood of their company.

    Without an efficient team beneath them, they would not be able to achieve long term success. For businesses to thrive, they need to focus their efforts on creating a workplace that is not only productive, but enjoyable too.

    How to Encourage Your Employees to Work Harder

    Here are seven ways to encourage your employees to work harder (while also keeping them happy).

    1. Create a Welcoming Environment

    For many workers, a large chunk of the day is spent sitting at a desk in front of a computer screen. While this may seem like an effective way to get the most out of your workers, long stints without any breaks will only result in one thing – a lack of motivation.

    If you want to keep staff on track, you’ll need to provide a space where they can relax and bounce back from stressful work demands.

    This can be in the form of a games room, breakout areas or a lounge where workers can temporarily get away from their desks to socialize with colleagues and de-stress.

    While this may seem counter-productive, a balanced working environment can help to nurture a more engaged workforce.

    As furniture specialists Calibre note, having informal areas in the office where people can take a break and re-energize can be an effective productivity booster.

    2. Make them Feel Valued

    It’s true that people work harder when they know that they are appreciated.

    To keep your staff inspired, it’s important to make them feel like they are an integral part of your company, rather than just someone who turns up, gets their work done and leaves at the end of the day.

    An easy way to do this is to ask for their feedback.

    For example, holding regular company meetings offers a great chance for everyone to bring their ideas to the table and have their voice heard.

    This will help to foster a sense of ‘we’re all in this together’ and make everyone feel like their opinion is valued and their input matters.

    It’s also important to make sure that you praise your employees and give them recognition for their achievements.

    3. Give them More Responsibilities

    Having your staff do the same task day in day out is a guaranteed productivity killer.

    To avoid the risk of them becoming bored, provide them with new tasks that allow them to step outside of their comfort zone. Gradually giving people more responsibility will mean that they become more confident in their abilities, which will help to keep them engaged.

    After all, if they feel good about what they are doing, they are far more likely to perform better and be more productive.

    Whether it’s leading a pitch for a prospective client, being in charge of an important project or having the chance to train new staff members, set attainable goals for each employee and give them a chance to shine.

    4. Be Transparent

    If you keep your workers in the dark about the goings-on of your business, they’ll start to feel excluded and under-valued. In order to build a reliable, stable team that want to work for you, maintaining open communication is crucial.

    Always be straightforward with your staff and keep them informed about any issues or trying times the company faces. This way, you’ll reinforce the feeling among employees that they are important.

    5. Perks of the Job

    Let’s face it, everyone wants some sort of incentive to work for a company.

    This can in the form of a bonus scheme for when targets are achieved or something as simple as an employee of the month program, where the winner receives a small reward, such as a free lunch or gift card.

    You don’t necessarily have to increase someone’s salary in order to motivate them – just make sure you provide enough incentives so that you retain top talent. It’s also a good idea to promote from within, as this will show your employees that there are opportunities for career progression.

    6. Listen to their Needs

    Every employee will have their own frustrations with their job, and if you want to make them more productive, you’ll need to listen to them.

    Make sure their individual needs are addressed by providing ongoing, regular appraisals.

    If someone is struggling with their work demands, make sure you ask them what you can do to help them. Try sending out a brief questionnaire to find out how satisfied your employees are with their roles and what you can be doing to keep them motivated.

    This way, you’ll be able to quickly identify any problems and provide a suitable solution. Plus, even if their issues can’t be dealt with immediately, they will still appreciate that they are being listened to.

    7. Pitch in

    If you want your employees to work to the best of their ability, you’ll need to take a hands-on approach.

    After all, there’s nothing more demotivating than a manager who barks orders and then takes a back seat, and you can’t expect your personnel to work hard for you if you don’t lead by example.

    Take the time to interact with your team on a regular basis to understand the ins-and-outs of what they do and provide assistance whenever you can.

    In Conclusion

    By following motivational tips like these, you stand to boost morale, achieve a higher staff retention rate and improve performance – all of which are good news for your bottom line.

    How do you encourage your employees to work harder? Leave a comment below.