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8 Overlooked Things That Are Hampering Your Office Productivity

8 Overlooked Things That Are Hampering Your Office Productivity

Productivity is a state or quality of producing something. Since people are not always the most stable of the beings, productivity is an elusive concept. We go to office and work there day in day out, but simply putting our time and effort without much focus does not always make us actually productive.

To actually be productive, you have to be in a stable state of mind and stay focused in your work. But that’s not always the case. More often than not, there are little factors that are dragging your work rate and actually hampering your productivity. Some of these factors are discussed in this post.

1. Noise

Putting it bluntly, any unrequired incoherent persistent disturbance can be labeled as a noise.

The office machines, chattering co-workers, nearby construction site or trains are the usual suspects when it comes to creating noise inside the office.  Though these may sound trivial, studies have shown these noises have serious implications with office productivity.[1]

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2. Temperature

Temperature is one of the most overlooked factors when it comes to creating an office environment. So it’s easy to grasp why employees persistently complain about the workplace being too hot or too cold.

It’s easy to see the picture; any place that is too hot, too cold or too humid makes the employees feel uncomfortable and reduces their productivity.

A study linked warm offices to fewer typing errors and higher productivity of the workers. The results of the study also suggested that raising the temperature to a more comfortable thermal zone saved the employers about $2 per worker, per hour.[2]

3. Light

It is a wide known fact that working in dark interferes with your eyes and decreases your productivity in the long run. But lighting has effects well beyond that: a study conducted by the American Society of Interior Design indicated that 68 percent of employees complain about the lighting situation in their offices.[3] Two of the most common complaints were that the lights in the office were either too dim or too harsh.

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While selecting lighting arrangements for your office, natural light is the best choice but consider this: an employer’s choice of lighting can have a considerable effect on the productivity of the company.

4. Interruptions

Imagine a situation where an employee is completely immersed in his/her work and out of the blue, a co-worker comes and asks him/her if he/she has a minute and then goes on to ask which color he/she should paint the nursery to? These types of situations are all but frequent in offices.

Time magazine estimates that on an average day, the workers are interrupted about 7 times an hour adding up to 56 times per day and more than 80% of time these interruptions result to mundane discussions.[4] Another research suggests that these interruptions are costing the U.S. economy $588 billion a year.[5]

Using time tracking software and optimizing employee break times can help alleviate the productivity problems due to inane interruptions.

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5. Air

Air is vital to us, yet we tend to overlook its significance. Poor quality air may lead to chronic problems like asthma and bronchitis while minor health problems like headaches, dry throat, runny eyes and respiration problems are frequent.

Research from the Technical University of Denmark concluded that poor indoor air quality in buildings can decrease productivity by as much as 6-9 %.[6] The problems do not stop at employees; even visitors tend to express their dissatisfaction if there is lack of fresh air. U.S Occupational Safety and Health Administration estimates that around $15 is being lost due to poor indoor air quality.[7]

Maintaining natural air circulation is the key. You should also strategically set up air conditioners so they can circulate fresh air with minimal amount of foreign particles being mixed in it.

6. Office Anatomy

Remember the mantra:  ‘Healthy environment creates happy employees’. Worryingly enough, the opposite is equally true as well. Unhealthy environments create dissatisfied employees. A bad office anatomy plays into the psyche of the workers and creates a mental barrier, which hampers productivity.

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A neatly maintained office anatomy helps to boost the productivity. Use privacy panels for increasing focus of employees and allow natural lights to flow in through the windows to help the workers concentrate more.

7. Tech Problems

There is an old proverb ‘Time is Money’. Consider the time you’re losing because of small tech problems like your computer crashing or the server going down. These days a majority of companies rely on evolving technologies to increase their efficiency but it’s not always the case.

Sometimes working with technology works against your favor, especially if you have little to no experience with it. It wastes a lot of your time with little development. To ensure maximum productivity, experiment with technology that you’re confident you’ll get a hold of.

8. Food

When discussing about office problems, people often tend to completely ignore the problems created by food quality. Employees take snacks during their work time. It helps to fuel their energy levels and helps them stay productive. But not all foods are good for you. A study by Harvard Business Review suggested that misbalance of glucose in sugar is bad for your productivity while consuming too much fat in your food makes you lazy.[8]

Consuming healthy snacks at specific intervals improves your digestion and smoothens your metabolic process to ensure you stay focused on your work, helping to increase your productivity.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via c2.staticflickr.com

Reference

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Nabin Paudyal

Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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Published on January 7, 2021

How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

Some people see the trees for the forest, and some see only the forest, meaning they lack strong attention to detail. But even if you’re one of the people who take a macro rather than a micro view, true professionalism requires balancing both.

If focusing on the fine points is not your forte, you will benefit from training yourself to pay attention to details. You will profit by saving yourself time, effort, money, and credibility.

Why Training Yourself in Attention to Details Pays Off

You add value to your organization when you make the effort to ensure that you performed your work thoroughly and effectively. This is why job postings often list “attention to details” among the required skills.

When you present your supervisor or client with well-completed, high-quality work the first time, it maximizes your value and minimizes wasted time. Detail-oriented people are also more adept at catching mistakes that could lead to costly blunders.

Moreover, attention to detail is an indicator of possessing other in-demand employee qualities, such as organization, thoroughness, and focus. In some professions, such as accounting, engineering, medical research, and more, you can only excel if you have trained yourself to pay attention to details.

In other professions, possessing strong attention to detail is the very quality that will get you promoted to a position where you will be asked to consider the big picture.

Finally, if you are the “go-to” details person, everyone else on the team can relax a bit. They know the project is in good hands and will likely throw you more projects as a reward. This will ultimately lead to your advancement.

3 Important Aspects of Becoming More Detail-Oriented

Here are the 3 important things you need to learn if you want to remedy your lack of attention to detail:

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  1. Respect deadlines
  2. Understand the work-flow plan
  3. Build in time to mess up

1. Respect Deadlines

Deadlines lend all projects a finish line. One smart idea is to take the given deadline and work backward from it, calculating when your piece of the project is due. Then, if you stick to the proscribed schedule for completing the mini-projects that you have, you will never miss a deadline.

One important note on this: It is smarter to stick to the deadline and turn in work that merits a “B+” than to blow the deadline with “A” work. Chances are, through revision and suggested changes from others on the team, you can bring up your B+ work to an A later. But if you disregard deadlines, you will lose the respect of your boss and fellow teammates.

2. Understand the Work-Flow Plan

Your team is developing work in conjunction with other teams who have projects and deadlines of their own. When you grasp the whole work-flow plan, you may be able to either add insight to the greater project or to your own smaller piece of it that others at the firm will consider valuable.

3. Build in Time to Mess Up

You can expect that “what can go wrong will go wrong.” Don’t overpromise on deadlines. Something likely will mess up, but when it does if you built in the time to fix it, those around you won’t freak out.

Chances are, you already give your attention to several details. Take heart. You can do this! You can overcome your lack of attention to detail and become more detail-oriented.

For starters, consider this: Most people take the time and put in extra effort into the activities or undertakings that matter to them most. Training yourself to become more detail-oriented can mean adopting a similar pattern of behavior.

Apply the same attention you give to your appearance. Are you a meticulous dresser? Do you pay attention to how you pair patterns and colors, and how you accessorize a particular outfit?

This is the same system to use when you lack attention to detail with your work. Give every item careful consideration so that each one contributes to the perfectly pieced-together whole.

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Assemble the ingredients the way you do when you cook. Cooking and baking from scratch require close attention to details as you measure and add each ingredient in sequence, and you time everything so that the meal comes together at the same time.

Similarly, your work product requires you to gauge whether all the ingredients have been added and that your final product is delivered on time.

Organize your business network like you do your social contacts. If you follow a broad base of friends and acquaintances on social media, you can apply similar skills to stay up-to-date on details associated with business acquaintances.

When you meet somebody who could be influential to your career or a resource for improving your skills, follow that person on social media. Respond to their posts to keep the lines of communication flowing.

12 Tips to Help You if You Lack Attention to Detail

Teaching yourself to take note of important details involves sharpening your perceptions and thinking ahead. The following tips will help you adopt these practices. Master these habits when training yourself to become detail-oriented.

1. Learn to Listen Well

You will pick up relevant information and needed nuance when you apply the skills of active listening. In conversations, train yourself to make eye contact, give your undivided attention to the speaker, and ask pertinent follow-up questions.

Training yourself to pay better attention to details in conversations includes learning to fully concentrate on what others have to say. If you find it hard, there’s no harm in taking notes on what they say.

2. Pay Attention to Social Cues

Make a point of noticing body language and facial expressions that provide insights into how others perceive a situation. Social cues offer details that give you an understanding of how words and actions impact others. The infamous character Michael Scott of the television show “The Office” epitomizes the consequences of not paying attention to others’ body language.[1]

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3. Follow Rules

Rules and protocols usually come about from lessons learned and are put in place to avoid further mishaps—whether from a safety or efficiency standpoint. If you’re given step-by-step procedures to follow, check them off as you go. Also, return to the rules at the project’s end just to make sure you adhered to them all.

4. Take Notes

Note-taking is a way to boost your retention and gives you something to refer back to when you need to keep track of pertinent details. You will also heighten your focus as you listen for relevant information. Review your notes shortly after the meeting or conversation and highlight the content that you intend to apply.

5. Prioritize What Needs Your Attention Now

When you have a full slate of work that demands your attention, take a few moments to sort assignments from most to least urgent. Keep a calendar, spreadsheet, or project planning software up-to-date with schedules and deadlines to help you stay organized.

As you tackle each urgent assignment, give it your full attention so no details are missed. Give yourself ample time—especially if you tend to be someone who waits until the last minute—as rushing can make you overlook important details.

6. Have a Detail-Oriented Assistant Check Your Work

If you lack attention to detail, then it makes sense to seek help from someone detail-oriented. If you have this option, take advantage of it. Two sets of eyes are better than one. Just be sure to credit your assistant for their help once the project is completed.

7. Learn the Rules of Writing Well

English is a difficult language, and grammar, punctuation, and spelling can all sabotage you unless you pay attention to detail. When in doubt, look it up. Free to use website services such as Grammarly can help.

8. Proofread Before You Hit Send

Nothing is perfect in its first draft. If you lack attention to detail, then put in the extra effort before submitting things. Before you send off any written work, check carefully not only for misspellings and incomplete sentences but also for improper tone, inappropriate colloquialisms, and inconsistent formatting. When your written communications are error-free, they will have their intended impact.

9. Minimize Distractions

It is impossible to stay focused when colleagues carry on conversations nearby or your mobile notifications ding you throughout the day. Do your best to limit distractions.

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If you are working where there is a lot of noise or side activity, try wearing noise-canceling headphones or seeking out a quiet corner. Disable your notifications when you need to focus, and resolve to only check them after you have completed your assignment.

10. Take Breaks

It may sound counter-intuitive to stop and take a walk, but it’s necessary. Walk away from the screen. Moving from one task to the next across the span of your workday is a recipe for brain fatigue. Give your brain a recess time when you come to a natural stopping place or after you complete one project and before you start the next. These short pauses are necessary for sorting through all the details needed for coming up with successful solutions.

11. Make Time for Reflection

At the end of a workday, take a few minutes to go over the day’s events in your mind. What was said or relayed in conversations? What is the status of the projects you worked on? What else occurred that you should pay attention to? Could there have been any details you might have missed that you should address tomorrow?

12. Keep a Detailed To-Do List

This simple organizational tool is your best ally for getting your work done on time and for paying attention to the details. If you are pressed for time (and who isn’t?), write your list to coordinate with dayparts.

Allot a certain number of hours to complete each task, do it, and then check it off. Nothing feels more rewarding than completing all the tasks on your list. But if you can’t finish them, then carry them over to the following day.

Final Thoughts

Details may seem small, but they can become a lot larger when they are overlooked. If you know you lack attention to detail, commit to training yourself to embrace the many facets that can help you consistently excel in the tasks you set out to accomplish.

When you begin to catch your mistakes in advance or apply the tidbits of information you gathered from paying close attention, you will know that you have trained yourself in the fundamentals of becoming detail-oriented. After that, you should start hearing the phrase “Great job!” more often.

More Tips on Boosting Your Attention to Detail

Featured photo credit: Cristina Gottardi via unsplash.com

Reference

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