Between scanning our inboxes, checking our phones, and feeling overwhelmed by our workloads, it’s a wonder anyone can get work done. To help your employees focus and stay productive, you need to counterbalance these distractions. First, make sure the office has designated spaces where employees can disconnect. You don’t have to install nap pods like Google — you can set aside a corner with comfy chairs or rooms where people can close the door and work. Second, encourage employees to block out chunks of “focus time” on their calendars. Tell them it’s OK to ignore email or Slack for a few hours; have them use an auto-reply to let people know they’re unavailable. (“I’m stepping away from my email to finish this project. I’ll be back in one hour.”) And set policies around how quickly employees have to respond to messages. The more time they’re spending on “urgent” emails, the less time they’re spending on deep work.

This tip is adapted from “4 Ways to Help Your Team Avoid Digital Distractions,” by Amy Blankson

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