Dealing with distractions in your working team can be a difficult ordeal. They exist whether your employees are working at the office together or by themselves from home. They can have a significant impact on your business if left unchecked, but most managers aren’t even aware of the challenges that distractions can present, much less how to overcome them. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the top 4 most common hindrances to work productivity, as well as what you can do to resolve them. Read on below:

Unnecessary meetings

It can be difficult to determine what is “unnecessary” at work, however we can all probably agree that “meetings that could’ve been an email” are one of them.

It is true that regular check-ins are a great way to keep the engagement level high between your team members, especially if some or all of them are now working from home. And yes, team meetings can facilitate collaboration, make sure everyone is on the same page, and keep employees from feeling disconnected or isolated.

However, meetings also eat up a lot of time and inevitably take a chunk out of the workday. They can also be very disruptive to an employee’s work routine. Some workers get into a “groove” of sorts as they go about their tasks, and it can be difficult to jump back in after an interruption.

To resolve the issue, managers, executives, and team and project leaders should know when team meetings are the most productive course of action, as well as how to conduct meetings effectively. This will save time while ensuring that everyone in attendance derives the most value out of them, thus creating better results.

Failing to maximise the available tools

During the onboarding process, employees are taught how to use the tools that the organisation uses to go about their daily tasks.

Knowing how to use proprietary software and tools that the organisation uses is one thing. Mastery of these tools, though, can significantly improve productivity. Apps such as IBM Notes, Microsoft Outlook, and G Suite are packed with powerful features that can help employees do their work faster and smarter. Unfortunately, most workers tend to only be aware of their basic functions and will not progress further without continuing education.

Enrolling your employees in time and workload management courses specific to the apps they use at work can be hugely beneficial. Many of these courses are available online; if you want to have more control over the content, many registered training organisations will be happy to conduct them at your workplace or any location of your choosing.


Communication is essential at work for many reasons. With regards to productivity, it keeps people on the same page while they’re all aiming for a common goal. Sadly, it’s also the first thing that goes when team members are all working from separate locations, as would be the case in telecommuting. Communication breakdowns can happen when people don’t have an opportunity to interact and collaborate with each other, face-to-face.

Standardising communications is an easy way to get around that all-too-common problem. People should have access to the same software and communication tools, which will minimise the possibility of messages getting lost or going nowhere. Employees should also be informed on the best order of priority when using these communication tools. For example, email should only be used for essential communications, while messaging apps such as Slack or Skype can be relegated to quick check-ins and less pressing matters. The important thing to remember is to go with a system that feels right for the team.

Poor phone habits

It sounds hard to believe at first, but phone addiction is very real. Handheld devices that we all use daily such as smartphones and tablets are intentionally designed to be addictive. According to former Google design ethicist Tristan Harris, most apps and the devices that we use them in are all designed to keep us hooked because tech companies profit off of user attention and engagement.

Organisations can curb employee phone addiction by limiting or removing employee access to social networking websites and other non-work-related pages in the workplace. They can also educate their workers on how to have healthier relationships with their phones. Harris suggests turning off all non-human notifications and switching to a grayscale phone display, but users can also take advantage of the Digital Wellbeing options that exist in many devices. Some operating systems, including Android and iOS, help users fight digital distractions by muting notifications and restricting access to certain apps during the workday.


Keeping the team focused can be difficult regardless of the setting, but it’s definitely not impossible. Reducing distractions and keeping productivity up all comes down to how an organisation manages its employees. By staying informed and identifying pain points early, any productivity issues can be addressed as soon as possible.