We all have those days where we’re tearing through work with an unstoppable momentum and then there’s others where we can’t seem to get anything done. Productivity is a locomotive and distraction is the scheming outlaw waiting around the corner to derail all of our best-laid plans.
When it comes to distraction in modern offices; the list is endless. The layout of open-plan offices – while conducive to collaboration – at times can make it difficult to block out the noise and get on with your work.
Then there’s the ping of notifications, chat apps, phones and emails; the list is endless.
Speaking at Xerocon South, former Monk, turned entrepreneur, Dandapani, spoke of how to shift to a new state at work, in life and at play.
Establish a communication policy
While general background noise in an open-plan office can be hard to block out, when you’re in the zone, an interruption from a colleague can really get things off-track. Dandapani says establishing a clear communication policy in an open-plan office is key.
During his time in a monastery, he says most of the day was spent working on communication. While this is not generally transferable to today’s modern office, he says the monastery still had a communication policy in place, albeit an unconventional one.
“If another monk was walking down the pathway, hands in front of him, fingers intertwined, you would know he was in a contemplative state and reflecting while he was walking,” Dandapani says. “If his hands were by his side then you could go up and talk to him.”
While using a body language-based communication policy may not be practical in some workplaces, there is definitely something to be learned from it. As an alternative, Dandapani says small businesses should consider establishing daily solo work times. Blocking out a couple of hours a day for employees to complete work without interruption may just be the solution.
The open-plan offices at Xero offer a range of independent workspaces. Employees can book themselves a private meeting room or take advantage of a whole range of quiet workspaces. Those who prefer to remain at their desk sometimes just put their headphones on as a way to signify they’re busy.
Dandapani doesn’t recommend becoming fearful of approaching co-workers, rather, putting yourself in their shoes and thinking about timing and importance is all key to having a respectful relationship.
Concentration is the greatest tool when it comes to productivity and it’s important to not only be mindful of your own but aware of others’.