Driven to distraction

We are all aware of how distracting smartphones, wearable technology and computers can be in our personal and professional lives. Rarely does a conversation take place without at least one party being pinged and glancing down at his or her device.

But there are other, more subtle distractions in a workplace that can cause a drop in productivity if not addressed.

For instance, reports a recent Staples Workplace Survey revealed 38 percent of those working in an open office say the layout causes distractions. And the website says it can take up to 25 minutes for high-performing employees to recover focus after a single distraction. If you are committed to an open office plan, one way around this is to offer quiet zones where employees can go when they need silence to focus on their work.

An obvious—but often ignored—distractor is meetings. Meetings take employees away from the tasks at hand. Try to limit meetings to one day per week or make them longer and less frequent.