Strategies to Avoid Digital Distractions

Sep 8, 2020

For companies who are advocates of remote-first employees, it can be challenging to address the matter of maintaining a work-life balance or avoid procrastination from digital distractors. It is fact that constantly being bombarded by online content can have a detrimental effect on productivity, making it hard to focus on daily tasks, retain important information, and be successful multitaskers. 

But because technology also plays an important role in improving our knowledge, organization, and teamwork capabilities (especially working remotely) it is important to use it, we are unable to simply disconnect from it. For this reason, it is important that companies with a remote-first culture establish clear expectations that establish control over performance, develop a conscience about the workplace, and get tasks completed effectively.  Here are some tactics and strategies to avoid digital distractors and help remote-first employees perform at an optimal level. 

Be smart from the start

If you are moving your company to a remote-first culture and are looking to fill new positions you need to keep in mind that not everyone will be a good fit for remote roles. It’s highly recommendable that you inquire about your candidate’s online habits and preferences as well as past experience with remote work, to gain insight into the profile of the candidate and whether they will be a match for the needs of the available position. Moreover, make sure those needs are clear and that you communicate both verbally and in writing the performance and daily operations expectations that your company has.

Create a handbook

When going remote-first it is very important that all your employees understand what this means, whether it’s new hires or not, you need to take the time to educate your team on how to successfully work remotely. 

Going beyond the basic rundown of what is expected and a quick introduction to the platforms you’ll be using for task tracking; make sure that you invest the time to create a handbook with helpful tips and tricks to keep your employees distractor free. These can include: 

  • Keeping your personal phone on silent while performing an important task
  • Set a time table for yourself on a daily basis of the tasks that you have to accomplish
  • Turn off unnecessary and unwarranted notifications from your web browser
  • Turn on important notifications from work chats and daily calendar
  • Work for set periods of time and give yourself breaks in between tasks.
  • Keep digital devices at a distance habits
  • Stand up & stretch exercises

It’s also helpful to add a human touch to these types of best practices, where employees can provide a “how-to” or testimony on the benefits of engaging in any of these distractor free strategies. 

Go beyond the work week

It’s important to realize that digital distractors don’t discriminate. Streaming before bed, checking your phone while at dinner with family, or answering that text message while driving, may seem like isolated and minor consumers of our time and energy. But in reality, a lot of that quality attention goes into these distractors. They secretly play into the quality of life that you build for yourself: with your relationships, your work performance, your safety, and even your sleep!  It should come as no surprise that they also creep into the workplace. Offering your employee resources to maintain personal relationships among their team is a great way to also keep them focused and motivated on the team efforts at hand and keep them away from behaviors that can negatively impact their work.  Some ideas of this include: 

  • Donut Calls on Slack
  • Zoom Master Classes 
  • Netflix Parties

Lastly, make sure that you are taking the time to chat with employees on a regular basis and  taking the temperature of their performance. Above all, make sure your engagements don’t leave you feeling in the dark about their goals or daily tasks.  If you are interested or need more information on how to successfully transition from an onsite to a fully remote team, we encourage you to watch the latest webinar with our CEO David Hemmat, where we share our experience and successful strategies. 


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