How to Improve Employee Attention to Detail Without Breaking the Bank

Detail-oriented work requires concentration and can be challenging when distractions occur.  In the modern 24/7 world, immediate responses are expected, especially at work.  Dealing with detailed numbers or statistical equations can take twice as long if continued distractions occur.  Writing an email to a prospective buyer requires undivided attention. Most employees struggle with deciding on how to use their time.  Questions stemming from this difficulty may include: “Do I respond to this email right away? How do I finish this report when my phone won’t stop pinging?”.  Employees are constantly and unconsciously weighing the outcome of not responding to texts, emails, and calls.   Even more complicated is the number of emails an employee must sift through in order to identify emails of consequence.

External distractions can be just as challenging to navigate.  Employees have constant access to their external connections and those connections also have that same access to them.  Employees are regularly trying to manage personal content.  Is the text from their family of an urgent nature or can it wait?  An old friend emerges on a text chain or a Facebook post, an employee may wonder if everything is OK?  A study from Deloitte showed that users look at their phone 47 times a day.  With so many distractions baked into a day, it’s no wonder that employees have difficulty focusing on detail-oriented work.

To give employees the level of concentration needed to be productive in their detailed work, a time allotted for distraction-free focus is recommended.  For example, having a sign system stating, “Do not disturb” for an office or cubicle.    Another example would be a set time when employees are encouraged to silence their phones and shut down their email to focus on details.  To make such a system work, employees would need to make a cultural shift and safeguard anyone trying to utilize quiet time to concentrate on detailed work. To make that shift, a business owner and manager would need to provide support and leadership by partaking in the same “quiet time”.  A system would need to be created in order to ensure that clients and customers still received all necessary services.

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