Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2018 - 57
HOW TRAINING CAN PROVIDE
FOCUS AND MINIMIZE
Today's workplace is full of disruptions.
From the shift to more open,
collaborative office environments to
emerging technology at our fingertips.
In theory, collaborative workspaces
should promote a breeding ground for
free-flowing ideas and innovation. But
the unforeseen consequence of these
types of environments is frequent,
ongoing distractions - whether it's from
LACK OF MOTIVATION.
loud conversations from co-workers,
where you inadvertently become part
of a conversation against your will, or
general elevated noise levels across the
Technology is only compounding
the issue by distracting an already
distracted employee. The abundance
of emails and meetings just add to
this dilemma. Meetings are supposed
to increase efficiency and streamline
communication, but they can quickly
become a huge waste of time and
resources. According to a research
study by Udemy, the top meeting
disruptions are small talk and office
gossip, side discussions about other
projects, late arrivals/early departures,
and technology/connectivity problems.
How many of us have been in meetings
where all four of these disruptions have
occurred? I know I have.
Companies need to be aware how
workplace distractions can impact
employee morale and retention.
Distracted employees report increased
stress, frustration and lack of motivation.
productive and less motivated to stay at
technology are not going away. So, what
can organizations do to help employees
stay focused and productive? If you are
waiting for your employees to come
to you and share their concern over
workplace distractions, then you might
be waiting awhile.
According to the same Udemy research,
70 percent of respondents believe
that training can help block out
workplace distractions, but nearly the
same percentage of people who want
training have never talked to a manager
about it. That's nearly three-quarters
of your workforce who are suffering in
silence. Employees are not confiding
in managers for a number of reasons -
whether they feel their disclosure would
not help to improve the current situation
or they don't want to share something
that could be construed as a sign of
weakness in the eyes of their boss.
Employees are trying their best to cope
with distractions on their own. When
faced with distractions, employees are
turning their phone off during work
hours, playing music to drown out
the noise, practicing meditation
techniques, or focusing most of their
time on completing tasks that don't
require too much focus. Instead
of leaving employees to combat
distractions on their own, learning and
development can help.
LEARNING TO WORK SMARTER
While training alone won't solve the
distraction problem, developing a
learning culture can create an atmosphere
where employees feel encouraged to
admit when there are issues impeding
their development. Managers must
strive to create an environment where
employees feel supported to grow
and develop and not feel ashamed for
sharing their limitations.
To help employees cope with workplace
distractions, L&D can develop training
that emphasizes how to work smarter.
Training could include how to use
technology more efficiently at work,
mindfulness practices to stay focused
and on task, time management skills,
and leadership skills to take control
of a meeting. As technology continues
to evolve and organizations adapt
and change practices, employees will
continuously be confronted with
disruptions. L&D must move beyond
developing practical soft skills as well.
Employees must learn how to focus in
the middle of chaos, lead effective and
productive meetings, utilize resources to
stay organized and focused, and select
appropriate communication channels
for the need.
The modern workplace is facing an
absurd amount of distractions, and
the momentum is just gaining steam.
Helping employees succeed in this
paradigm is critical to engagement and
retention levels across the business.
Michelle Eggleston is the editorial director
for Training Industry, Inc. Email Michelle.
T R A I N I N G I N DUSTR Y MA GAZ INE - BACK TO BASICS 2018 I W WW. T RAININGINDU S T RY . C OM/ MAGAZ I NE
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Training Industry Magazine - September/October 2018