Work from home distractions can weaken concentration and impede remote worker productivity, as anything not on your to-do list will certainly affect every other thing on your to-do list.
And although employers are increasingly embracing and normalizing remote work, concerns still exist about work from home distractions and employee productivity.
For this reason, remote team management software sales have soared in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak as employers continue to explore novel ways to manage their newly remote teams. According to reports, by 2028, remote work adoption by employers will surpass 78%.
According to another recent study of British Columbians, it was found that over 60% of employees admit they’re now more bored than usual since the lockdowns began.
To fight this boredom, many turn to distractions.
And work output may suffer and plummet.
But it need not.
In this post, we shall x-ray work from home distraction, it’s causes and consequences, then highlight five (5) simple ways to overcome it and be more productive when working from home, but first
What is Work From Home Distraction?
Work from home distraction comprises any and everything that gets in the way of work when you’re working from home, whether you’re working for self, a company, or doing any of the several available online jobs.
These distractions are manifold and can reduce your traction. If you’ve ever taken office work home you’ll agree it’s tough to get work done, especially if you’re a woman, wife, and mother.
Also, with endless mobile notifications and other digital distractions, one minute can quickly morph into hours as users get sucked into the world wide web and digital technology as a whole.
In fact, a recent survey by ComPsych found that nearly 90% of employees check social media during work hours, with 18% of them doing so ten or more times a day.
Some Major Sources of Distraction When Working From Home
- Human Sources (children, spouses, parents, siblings, roommates, neighbors, etc)
- Technology (phone calls, SMS, social media, notifications, TV, Netflix, etc)
- Animal Sources (pets like dogs, cats, etc)
- Psychological Sources (stress, worry, clutter, disarray, disorganization, etc)
All these can cause or worsen work from home distraction.
Consequences of Distraction
1. Accidents Will Happen
A study in Norway showed that inattention contributes to 29% of all fatal crashes, with distraction by mobile phones directly responsible for 2-4%. Yours may not be an automobile accident, it could be a coffee spill on yourself, your laptop keyboard, pet, or family member.
2. Mistakes Will Happen
You could also accidentally send the wrong email. This can send a wrong message about you. The Creative Group conducted a nationwide survey and found that 78% of respondents had mistakenly sent out the wrong email or copied someone they didn’t intend to.
Source: Reliable Plant
3. Deadlines Will Delay
Distractions affect your ability to concentrate, manage time, and prioritize tasks. Work from home distractions can make employees procrastinate and postpone essential tasks indefinitely. This can result in missed deadlines, hurried, and shabby work.
In connected teams, this can create a gap and impact team productivity plus performance.
In the following section, I’ll be highlighting
5 Simple Ways to Overcome Work From Home Distractions and Stay Laser Focused
1. Identify Your Source(s) of Distraction
The first step to overcome work from home distractions is to identify your own unique source(s) of distraction. Cece Winans entire music collection helps me stay focused and super productive while working from home.
To you, music, while you work, may be a distraction and productivity killer. So, identify what distracts you from work. If it is food, try positioning your workstation (far) away from the kitchen. If it is noise over which you have little or no control, try earplugs, or schedule your work for when the source is inactive.
Work from home distractions can be active or passive. If food is your weakness, it is a passive distraction, if loud noise upsets you, then that’s an active distraction. This can help you plan and implement an appropriate response.
2. Address Your Distractions
After identifying your source(s) of work from home distraction, the next logical step is to address them. This can be achieved by engagement, rearrangement, or disengagement.
You can nicely ask your noisy roommate to tone it down (engagement), choose a different time and place to work without distraction (rearrangement), or work on finding a new affordable apartment or a more understanding roommate (disengagement).
Most remote workers also post “do not disturb” doorpost signs or install wall padding to limit work from home distractions like external noise.
3. Create a To-Do-So-As-Not-To-Be-Disturbed List
If you’re a daughter, sister, wife, mother, or caregiver to humans, pets, plants or other lifeforms, your time isn’t really fully yours. It is fragmented to accommodate each group you care for.
Your parents, siblings, husband, children, grandparents, Malamute, or Water Lily can be major sources of work from home distractions, especially for larger households.
Pre COVID-19, you probably had an empty nest and full control of your time by 9am, after waking and working from 5am to get everyone ready for work and school. Now everyone is stuck at home, eating more, playing more, and generating even more distractions.
To curb this, create a to-do-so-as-not-to-be-disturbed-later list. Involve everyone in cooking, washing, cleaning, and appoint family members to oversee tasks. Then take a break, shower, get dressed, enter your home office, and hang your do-not-disturb sign at the entrance.
Suggested: How To Change Your Mindset?
4 Create a Not-to-Do List
Productivity experts often focus on to-do lists, leaving out the things you shouldn’t be doing during work hours. This is where work from home distractions emanate from.
Your not-to-do or do-not list doesn’t have to resemble the Ten Commandments in scope and tone, but it should adequately cover your major sources of distraction.
If social media is your weakness, your do-not-list can look like this,
- Keep phones near the bed (so you can catch enough sleep)
- Install Facebook on your office PC
- Turn on smartphone notification sounds, etc
This in combination with a to-do list can cut distractions, improve task management, and boost overall productivity when you’re working from home.
5. Indulge Yourself
Overwork can bore you and burn you out. This can result in fatigue, stress, and depression. Although reports cite social media as one of the leading sources of distraction on the job, it need not be so.
Intermittent breaks are necessary to avoid a breakdown. So create some positive distractions and indulge yourself a little. Yes, you can check your Gram, chat, and tweet a bit – even update your Facebook Stories. Just don’t overdo it.
Done in moderation, social media use can in fact help to relieve symptoms of stress and burnout, by helping employees connect with friends and family, unwind and refresh, especially those working stressful 9 to 5 remote jobs.
Maintaining focus is key to overcoming work from home distractions.and improving overall productivity.
- Identify your source(s) of distraction
- Address them
- Create a to-do-so-as-not-to-be-disturbed list
- Create a not-to-do-list
- Indulge yourself
Use the comment section to let us know how you’re dealing with or plan to address your work from home distractions.
Amos Onwukwe is an AWAI trained Business and Ecommerce Copywriter and content marketer. When not writing, he’s thinking of writing or making music. He’s been featured in Huffington Post, Dumb Little Man, Ecommerce Nation, Fleximize, Understanding Ecommerce, Result First, Floship, GrowMap, Self Growth, among others.
You can connect with him on
LinkedIn: Amos Onwukwe.