Recently, over 2,000 businesses took part in a series of challenges to test new ways to improve workplace productivity, following concerns in recent years that the UK was lagging behind in this area.
Productivity issues are often cited as the domain of the employee, but for business owners alike, distractions can be many, especially when working from home.
Frederika Roberts, founder of The Happiness Speaker, says that her children being at home during school holidays are a big distraction, as she naturally wants to spend time with them. ‘They are 16 and 18, so old enough not to require my attention, but I feel I’m missing out on fun and precious time with them when I’m working and they’re around!’ she adds.
Social media is another of the big distractions, especially as it’s also integral to networking and promotion of the business, so difficult to switch off.
‘Emails are a major distraction; like a ringing phone, I find it difficult to ignore an incoming e-mail, even if all I do is mark it to ‘action later’ because I’m in the middle of something else – but by then, I’ve already been distracted, of course,’ she adds.
When Roberts first started working for herself, it was difficult for her to set boundaries between ‘home’ and ‘work’, as they were both in the same place. ‘I had to explain to my family that, although I’m at home during the day, I am at work, and I wouldn’t be nipping home to put the washing on etc if I worked in an office, so I wouldn’t be doing it when I’m at home, either.
‘I’m hardly a domestic goddess (far from it!), but I do sometimes still find myself tempted to ‘just quickly do that’ – whether it’s hanging the washing out, sorting out personal paperwork, researching/booking a holiday.’