At times, everyone gets distracted at work. Personal life issues can drift into work time, or a lack of motivation could cause them to use their time poorly or even ignore their obligations entirely. Dealing with employees who are constantly distracted can be a struggle, especially when the exact reason for the lack of attentiveness isn’t known. To help you navigate these complicated situations, here are some tips for handling distracted employees.

Create Strong Policies

With mobile devices being prevalent, it is critical to have clear, formal policies regarding the use of personal smartphones or tablets during work hours. Make sure any expectations or limits are explained thoroughly and outline any potential consequences for failing to meet the standards. This gives workers guidelines to which they can adhere and management a set of rules to follow should an employee’s behavior fall outside of the policy.

However, it is wise to have some level of flexibility for emergent situations. For example, allowing employees to be contacted by their child’s school or for updates on a seriously ill relative may be appropriate, so provide methods for determining whether an exception to the policy should be made based on the situation at hand.

Similarly, make sure the use of certain business resources, like desk phones, provided internet and company computers also have governing policies regarding their use. This is especially true in cases where the activity on company-owned devices is monitored, as ensuring workers have a clear understanding of what is and is not permitted as well as their actions are being recorded should all be properly disclosed.

Schedule a Conversation

It is possible to talk with a member of the staff who seems to be distracted without having to pry too deeply into their personal lives. The key is to make the discussion about performance and not necessarily the activities that seem to take up their time. This means having concrete metrics available that show a decline in their productivity or specific instances to cover where a change in their attitude directly affected their work.

Often, once these conversations begin, it is easier to get to the bottom of the reasoning behind the distraction, allowing you to jointly come up with a plan to help them meet performance standards. If the employee doesn’t want to disclose personal information, then they are at least aware that the change in their level of productivity or attitude has been noticed (and officially recorded) and managers can reiterate any expectations that must be met going forward. This gives the employee a chance to improve regardless of the inherent reason.

By handling distracted employees using a formal process, you can make sure the situation is addressed in a way that meets company standards. Then, if the person fails to improve, you have an opportunity to take further action.

Looking for Someone Who is Focused?

At PrideStaff, we understand the importance of having a productive workforce. If you are looking for a new person to join your team, our knowledgeable staff can help you identify the ideal candidates for any position. Contact us to discuss your hiring need and see how our services can make the recruitment process simple.

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