Focus: Paying attention pays dividends

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Sorry, we didn’t mean to startle you, but we would like to ask an important question.

Did you know right now an astonishing 70% of a company’s total employees could be spending much of their time at work shopping online?

The latest employee survey carried out Hibob also saw one in three employees admit to being distracted. In a similar study from learning platform Udemy, two-thirds of workers admitted to looking at their phones for at least an hour out of their normal workday.

Being distracted is not at all positive for productivity and your business’ bottom-line.  And, according to behavioural psychologists, the practice of allowing ourselves to be drawn away from the job can also directly impact our own creativity and happiness.

Measuring productivity versus distraction is a challenge but not impossible, so long as the metrics are set, and audits carried out regularly and consistently. Whether through the HR team or a line manager, all employees should feel that they have been properly briefed on their role and understand exactly what’s expected – but they should also have a set schedule to discuss their progress.

One way to keep things on target and offline is to remove any opportunity for boredom to creep in. Not feeling fully engaged can easily lead to distraction.

A great way to do this is to offer your employees the chance to develop new skills. Upskilling not only helps employees better understand and fulfil their mission, it throws up challenges and offers both personal and financial rewards.

Given the choice between working towards a promotion or watching another video of a cat playing the piano, a junior manager with an eye on the prize will put down their phone.

Delegating effectively to managers and rewarding success is also a great way to boost energy and hone focus.

So, too, is encouraging staff to slow down by using mindfulness: the art of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment and accepting it without judgement. This has been shown to lower stress levels and sharpen focus.

It’s not only social media that can tempt workers from working. In the office environment – or even when out and about via mobile phones – we can be constantly distracted by incoming emails. Switching off notifications until the task in hand has been completed, offers the space to concentrate.

This is especially beneficial for those at the top as it allows time and a little more luxury to ponder positions and make that big call with clarity. Even so, CEOs and MDs can be prone to drifting off and taking their eye off the ball.

If you’re in a senior position but find yourself gazing out the boardroom window to the wider world, it’s time to ask yourself this: what have been your biggest accomplishments and what goals do you still have?=

Answering these might give you the focus needed to seek fresh challenges…and an exciting new position among the Executive and Management roles on

Posted on January 14, 2020