1. Sitting in a cubicle
Working in a cubicle can feel downright claustrophobic. If you start to feel like the walls are closing in a bit, get up and go for a walk. Go around the block and get some sunshine or if you are working on deadline, even just a lap around the office can do you some good.
2. Noisy co-workers
Though space can be limited, managers can help their employees by being flexible. Not everyone can work at the highest level in an open floor plan, so set aside private spaces or conference rooms for your colleagues to pop into. If they are most productive working part of the week remotely or working out of the coffee shop downstairs, let them try it out. And if all else fails, there are always noise-cancelling headphones.
If it feels like your meetings aren’t getting you anywhere, stop and reassess. Before any meeting, make certain that everyone who is involved is in the know. Be certain what you need to discuss and accomplish going in and make sure your colleagues feel comfortable asking questions and contributing ideas. Start and end the meeting on time and make sure you finish the meeting with an actionable plan.
It’s good that you enjoy chatting with your coworkers. In many cases, you spend more of your time with them than your friends and family. Catching up on the weekend while waiting for the coffee maker or taking a few minutes to talk about a favorite TV show or book or ask after a family member is fine. Cracking jokes can make a time-intensive project go a little faster. Just make sure you aren’t blabbing too much.
We could all be better at emailing. The time we spent managing our inboxes could certainly be used for other more pressing activities. But how can we make the seemingly insurmountable daily task work for us? You can set aside the same amount of time every day to focus just on responding to e-mail. In writing your emails, being brief and direct is best. And unsubscribe to any newsletters or spam mail that just clogs your inbox. And if the request is a small one, it might just make sense to walk over and talk to your colleague.
Social media is fun and can be a great way to connect with other people in your industry, but there is a time and a place for it. If you’re working on a project, ask yourself whether it’s really necessary that you be perusing your sorority sister’s birthday photos on the side. (The answer is likely no.) For those who can’t help themselves, perhaps a site blocker is necessary.
7. The Internet
If you find yourself clearing your search history more than a few times during the course of the work week, you might want to rethink how you’re using your work computer. Save the online shopping or paying your credit card for your personal time. For managers, depending on the needs of your business, you can always consider blocking sites that could be distracting or harmful, but you must be upfront about your rationale. You can also ask that your employees keep the personal errands to the lunch hour. Just make sure you’re clear and consistent in your expectations.