Five days ago, a friend of mine posted on Facebook, “I am going to the park to play Pokemon if anyone wants to come with me.” This was from a 30-something year old! At the time, way back last week, Pokemon Go wasn’t in my vocabulary, but this new game has taken the world by storm – and caused many workplace distractions – and one can’t help but be exposed to this latest craze.
Today at work, I was in the lobby waiting for someone to arrive for a meeting when two of my co-workers got off the elevator, both intently looking at their phones and clicking, swiping, etc. The one asked the other, “Did you get any?” I knew right away what they were talking about.
I am not a hater of technology, Pokemon, or any other diversion, but everything has its place, especially in the workplace. I have worked with people over the years who watch movies while programming, have a game running in the background that they check in on once an hour, and more. I don’t think any of these things are bad in-and-of-themselves, but I think that people should come to work to work, get the job done as quickly as possible, and then leave work to do these extra-curricular activities and minimize workplace distractions.
I found the above image amusing, yet sad, as I think it somewhat portrays the culture we are in with extreme diversions, time-sucks, blog reading (like this one), etc. As an employer, I have difficulty knowing the right balance between work and allowing my employees these small diversions. I am not sure what the correct balance is.
All this said, there are blatant abuses of the system, and there are things you can do as an employer to identify time abuse and deal with it before it becomes a much larger problem. Another great idea is to try and identify potential issues before you actually hire someone. A glance at a person’s social media accounts will quickly tell you how active he/she is on social media. If the potential candidate is posting once an hour or more, this could be a sign that they are going to be highly distracted at work.
Finally, it would help if you asked questions on the application that might help you identify people who will have a hard time focusing on the job at hand. By asking them questions about their hobbies, interest outside of work, and more, you can gain a pretty good understanding of their personality. Luckily, great software options allow you to customize your job application and ask almost any question you want within legal realms. Ninja Gig is a great option to enable you to accept job applications online while also providing you with a way to customize your employment application. We even offer a job application template you can start from.
Read these tips for avoiding workplace distractions.
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