How to reduce interruptions in the workplace

Photo: AntonioDiaz, Bigstock

When you’re hard at work on something or in a phone call it can be both frustrating and costly to be constantly interrupted. Being stopped midway through a task or a conversation will throw off your focus and ruin the flow.

Obviously, if this happens routinely in your workplace then it means there’s a great deal of productivity being lost. Not only that – employee morale and job satisfaction can take a negative turn when workers feel as though they didn’t accomplish as much as they could have at the end of the day.

It’s essential to have mechanisms in place to reduce or mitigate the effect of workplace interruptions. One popular productivity solution is the Embrava Busylight system, which works by displaying an LED above your desk when you’re in a phone call or busy with a task so that co-workers know you’re unavailable.

The following will explore some of the strategies you can use to overcome interruptions in the workplace.

Have a quick morning briefing each day

One good way to reduce interruptions is to make sure that everyone is aware of what everyone else is working on and when important phone calls or meetings are scheduled. This means that everyone will know the times their co-workers will be unavailable, so they will be less likely to accidentally interrupt them.

The bonus of implementing this policy is that it also improves accountability as everyone will know what is expected of one another each day. This encourages employees to complete the tasks they publicly agreed to at the start of the day.

Be prepared for them

Sometime interruptions are unavoidable, and the best strategy is the simply try to reduce the time they take up in your workday. For example, if you know that the afternoon gets very busy with work then try to schedule your meetings and phone calls for the morning so that there are no conflicts.

If possible, try to keep abreast of what others are working on throughout the day and this is where those morning briefings can come in handy. This means that if you are interrupted by a colleague, you’ll be able to help them quicker than if you had no clue what they were working on.

Take responsibility for your own interruptions

It’s likely that you have been the perpetrator of as many interruptions as you’ve been the victim of and you’ll obviously need to try and curb this behaviour. Take personal responsibility by keeping aware of what co-workers are doing and paying attention to visual and auditory cues that they’re busy.

Hopefully by following the above tips you can reduce the amount and impact of workplace interruptions.