Top tips for minimizing work interruptions during Mental Health Awareness Week
Award-winning Wrexham-based company Moneypenny marked Mental Health Awareness Week by offering the best tips for minimizing stressful interruptions to work.
Over the past year, worker stress associated with interruptions caused by remote work – such as online meetings, deliveries and dog barking – has increased and recent research shows that stress-related absences climbed 64% in 2020.
Other data from UC Berkeley found that average work interruptions take 23 minutes and 15 seconds to recover, even if the distraction is only a minute, and the inability to focus on the job. work is directly related to stress.
To mark National Mental Health Awareness Week (May 10-16), Ceri Henfrey, COO of global outsourced communications provider Moneypenny, explored the real cost of downtime and shares tips for minimizing downtime during the working day.
Ceri said: “Lost productivity costs businesses £ 143 billion each year – an average of £ 4,467 per employee – and translates to 1 hour 24 minutes of distraction per employee every day. Interruption drains energy, kills creativity, and dampens performance, leading to the dreaded brain fog that can be so debilitating.
“Answering an unexpected call is perhaps one of the most common interruptions that can disrupt workflow. When we change gears, our mind must first stop processing what we were doing before refocusing on the new task. Therefore, even a seemingly rapid distraction can completely deflect concentration. Plus, when we’re interrupted, we rarely go back to what we used to do.
Ceri added, “As a business we talk a lot about uptime and ensuring that businesses are available when customers need them, but there is also value in not being available. Businesses need to actively help their employees set aside time for the quiet headlong work that is so important to productivity as well as to employees’ sense of accomplishment and control. They should also actively promote and support wellness – whether through counseling programs, cooking classes, financial education, buddy systems or simply encouraging staff to simply ‘turn off’ devices. for 15 minutes a day.
Here are Ceri’s tips for minimizing interruptions during the work day, to help reduce stress:
1. Formalize meeting etiquette
With the rise of video calls, it can be tempting to book them without the level of planning that would have been required for a physical meeting, especially when travel is not required. Video meetings offer flexibility, but try to avoid unscheduled meetings, or ones that don’t keep the time, and be aware of time zones and adherence to working hours if you are a global organization. When meetings are taking place, always use an agenda to stay on topic and issue a company-wide “ meeting tag ” to help drive positive change and an empowered approach to managing the business. time.
2. Outsource communications
If staff know the right infrastructure is in place to support them, it can reduce concerns. or for example, if the staff know that all customer calls will be handled with warmth, professionalism and efficiency, even when they are busy or in a meeting, it can instill calm and focus without the phone ringing breaking them. concentration. Outsourced telephone answering, switchboard and outbound follow-up are the ideal solution to minimize interruptions while preserving the customer / customer experience.
3. Choose a technology that aligns
Streamline the number of video and project management platforms used across the business so employees can “ know ” them and don’t waste time loading different systems or finding multiple connections between meetings and tasks . It really helps to keep it simple and choose technology that has broader value – for example, our answering system has Microsoft Teams integration, which means call managers know who’s available and when. The result is fewer interruptions for busy staff and a better customer experience.
4. Calendar management
Calendars aren’t just for meetings. Encourage employees to use their calendars to block out their time management and include tasks and add details about the availability or need for quiet time. By ensuring that onboarding, on-boarding or outsourcing teams have access to these agendas, it is possible to give employees the space they need to look after themselves, be productive and s ‘flourish.