Work today is too often marred by disruption. The unintended result is reduced output and general frustration by all involved. Worst of all, the quality of the work generally worsens as the number of distractions increases.

According to the State of Work 2020 report from Workfront, workers face an average of 13.9 interruptions per day, and it can take workers 20 minutes to recover from a distraction. The same survey found employees spend less than half of their workweek (43% on average) on their primary duties.

Many organizations throw technology at the problem, but more technology without a well-thought-out approach does little to improve the situation.

This conundrum has prompted teams to attack the problem with fresh thinking. One method gaining popularity is to designate a day when team members can forego meetings, calls and the other distractions that crop up throughout an average day so they can focus on their work.

No Meeting Tuesdays

PGi’s engineering team developed “No Meeting Tuesdays” in a bid to create a solid day of productive work time for team members.

Teams block off their calendars and use the time to focus on specific projects and deliverables. While there are some exceptions, such as a crisis situation, the team doesn’t book any meetings.

“I continue to seek feedback from our employees about No Meeting Tuesday and I continue to receive very positive responses,” said Santino Vialpando, PGi’s Vice President, Engineering. “For many people, the dedicated work time is very beneficial, but more than that, it sends a message that the department leaders understand the importance of having ‘heads down’ work time and are actually willing to help create space for it.”

Focus Days

In October 2017, the team at Search Discovery, an Atlanta-based data transformation company and a PGi partner, designated the second Wednesday of every month as a Focus Day. On the day, the team schedules no meetings and turns off instant messaging and emails.

“When you think of the number of pop-ups that come on screen from email to instant messaging, you can imagine that the average worker spends half of their day distracted,” said Andy Smelser, Senior Director, People, at Search Discovery. “We started looking at the work we do at Search Discovery. A lot of things that we do leverage the knowledge and expertise of our people,” Smelser said. “We thought it would be really powerful if we put into practice the idea of teaching people to spend blocks of time focusing on a specific task that they have or a specific project and try to remove distractions.”

The Revolution is Here

“Work” should no longer be defined by location.  It’s about bringing together the right people and empowering them to deliver great work. At PGi, we’ve launched a new initiative titled Work Wherever Wednesday. It focuses on removing the barriers facing how organizations connect, tips to improve worker connections, and finding the ideal space to work. Whether it be the office, at a coffee shop, at home or somewhere else, the goal is to help employees deliver success for their team and their stakeholders — regardless of their location.

The new workplace revolution wasn’t launched with a formal announcement, and it often goes unnoticed. While it varies from organization to organization, the modern era has ushered in new ways to approach the workday.

Mark Roberts serves as PGi’s CMO responsible for all marketing operations worldwide, driving growth opportunities and building brand recognition for the company within the communications market. @MarkRobertsCMO

Workplace stock photo by Monkey Business Image/Shutterstock