Between meetings, interruptions and water cooler talk, it can often be tough to focus when you’re in the office.  Many employees have said that they get more done when working out of the office.  Most employees want to be productive at work, but all sorts distractions get in the way.  A recent study from Oxford Economics suggested that there were three key elements that hamper productivity in the workplace:

Noise level: Open-plan offices help foster collaborative work, but they’re also pretty noisy.  Anybody who has been on a trading floor can tell you that.  Noise can make talking on the phone with clients more difficult, and filtering out the background noise can be tough.  Therefore, you need to take steps to minimize noise in the office.  Sound-absorbing decor, whether that’s rugs or ceiling tiles, will help bring down the noise level.  Quiet spaces for employees to hold meetings are another big step.  

Tech tools: Technology is great, and has done wonders to make all of our jobs easier, but it’s not perfect.  Only 36 percent of employees interviewed in the study said that the devices they use when away from the office work seamlessly with workplace technology.  This means that employees trying to work in a coffee shop or at home are out of luck.  If any of your employees work remotely or travel a lot, make sure they have the technology to get their work done.  Find apps that work with multiple platforms to ensure that the devices your team uses all integrate smoothly.  This will ensure greater productivity.

Constant connectivity: Technology ensures that we’re always connected.  That can be a good thing, but it’s also a major distraction.  Constant connectivity means that employees will always be available if they’re needed outside of work, but it also means that they can just as easily be interrupted while at work.  That’s why it’s important for business owners to set limits on their employees’ connectivity.  Instead of using chat apps to communicate, encourage people to actually get up and talk to each other.  That also means it’s easier to tell when your employees are goofing off; if your employees are chatting away on Skype at their desks, it’s not as easy to notice as when they’re chatting away in person at the water-cooler.