How to stop your employees falling victim to digital distraction

By Henry Brown

Technology has improved business in so many ways by speeding up processes, automating menial tasks, and saving you money. But technology has a downside; digital distractions. Every employee has access to social media on their phones and computers and they have an inbox filled with hundreds of emails so it’s only natural that people will get distracted sometimes. These digital distractions can have a real impact on productivity in the workplace if you don’t do something about them. If you think that you might have a problem, here are some of the best ways to manage digital distractions.

Avoid employee burnout

Sometimes, employees will distract themselves with social media or browse the internet at work because they’re burned out and overworked and are finding it hard to concentrate. Instead of working, they’re more likely to slack off and give in to digital distractions. It’s important that you support your employees if they’re overworked and find ways to help them manage their workload more effectively. People are a lot less productive if they are overwhelmed, so helping people to avoid burnout is one of the best ways to stop the temptation of digital distraction.

Block social media

The easiest way to stop people from getting distracted by social media is to block it on your office computers. You can do this by accessing the host files and blocking certain sites (visit for more information on exactly how to do this.) The only issue here is that people can still access social media on their phones so you may want to speak to your IT department and see if they can block these sites on any device connected to your wifi network. Just keep in mind that this is a fairly drastic measure, and your employees may feel as though they’re not trusted and being treated as adults, so you first should try other ways to avoid digital distraction.

Set specific times for email checking

People tend to routinely check their emails throughout the day, which takes them away from whatever task they were doing beforehand. Often, they will become distracted further instead of returning to their work and that amounts to a lot of lost time. That’s why it’s best to set specific times to check emails. If people check once in the morning when they arrive, once around lunchtime, and once in the evening before they finish, they’ll still be able to respond to anything in good time. Anything that is flagged as urgent can be looked at right away; otherwise, people should stick to the allotted times. You can even use a pause feature on the inbox to make sure people aren’t checking their emails all day long (visit for more information on this). When email checking is factored into their schedule for the day, people are far less likely to waste time on it and get distracted further.

Schedule meetings In the afternoon

Most people tend to work best in the mornings and then experience an afternoon slump and that’s when they’re most likely to get distracted. That’s why it’s a good idea to plan meetings in the early afternoon instead of the morning. That way, you’re not eating into their most productive periods, and when they’re more inclined to get distracted, you can counteract that by engaging them in a meeting.

Getting around digital distractions is difficult, especially when everybody has their phones on them all of the time, but these simple tips should help to increase productivity around the office.


Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop, he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.


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