Events That Can Stop Employee Productivity in Its Tracks

Even the most dedicated employees can get distracted by a national event or office problem. As the employer, it's your job to keep them on track and reduce distractions as much as possible. However, that's simply not possible 100 percent of the time. Here are three common office events that can halt employee productivity, and how you can work to get it going again.

   The Heating or Cooling Going Out   

Your office is surprisingly dependent on temperature control. While you might be able to open the windows if it's a cool spring day, most office productivity comes to a halt when your HVAC system breaks. Even if the temperature remains fairly stable, the lack of airflow can make the space stuffy.
In this case, your best option may be to send your employees home to work remotely. If the problem persists for a few days, you may consider renting a few rooms in a coworking space so they still have a professional environment to function in. However, if the heating or air is only out in part of the building, then you can install fans and space heaters, while letting employees work in conference rooms or guest offices in other parts of the building where the temperature is still controlled.
For the most part, HVAC breaks can be prevented with regular maintenance, which helps you reduce the likelihood of this distraction in your office.

   Major Holidays and Events   

Most offices are closed on New Year's Day, the Fourth of July, and Christmas, but there are other holidays that will cause distractions in the office. In this case, you may have to pick your battles as you decide whether it's worth it to keep the office open. For example, most employees will try to take off Christmas Eve or at least leave early on New Year's Eve. It may be better for employee morale to close the office entirely on those days.
You don't have to close the office for every holiday, as it's not customary for businesses to close on Halloween or St. Patrick's Day. However, these holidays tend to cause a drop in productivity because employees are excited to celebrate. Consider offering flexible hours where employees can work extra in the days leading up to the event, or consider closing the office an hour or two early as a gift to your staff. 

   Company News or Changes   

Not all distractions are out of your control. If someone in the company is leaving, let go, or promoted, your staff could spend the rest of the day speculating about what it means for the company. This can quickly drop morale, along with productivity, if the news is bad.
Most experts recommend saving big news for the end of the week, particularly for a Thursday or Friday. This gives employees the weekend to digest the news and reduces time spent in the office gossiping about it.
You can't control the events that distract your team, but you can control how you react to them. By taking action, you can keep your employees happy and keep productivity up.

Image via Flickr by ian g
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