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Interruptions cause unnecessary workplace stress

Interruptions cause unnecessary workplace stress

14 August 2013

One of the biggest gripes in the workplace is interruptions. They cause stress, disruption, unnecessarily long working hours and can lead to significant job dissatisfaction. On average, 28% of productivity is lost per day mainly through interruptions of many sorts including emails - this can add up to as much as 2.25 hours out of an eight hour workday! The knock-on effect of this is that employees end up having to stay late or start early in order to meet deadlines.

Fortunately, there are successful techniques that people can implement to counter the constant stream of interruptions, as taught by Time Management specialist Robyn Pearce, aka ‘The Time Queen’. It is one of the most common issues that clients come seeking help for. She has run an international consultancy that has specialised in time management for the past 21 years. “There is nothing more frustrating than being constantly interrupted. Educate your team how to treat you and don’t attend to each interruption immediately – unless of course it’s a crisis. It’s also important to remember to turn off your email notification.” Research indicates that on average it takes 10-20 times the length of the interruption for a person to get back to concentrating on whatever they were previously working on, so a five minute query could actually be costing up to 25 minutes of productive work time. If that’s happening all day long then it will affect stress levels and increase frustration!

In response to demand, Robyn is hosting a Wellington-based breakfast workshop on Friday 6th September 2013 focusing on How to Manage Interruptions. She will be joined by guest speaker Megan Richards, partner at Minter Ellison, who specialises in employment law. Megan will be imparting her extensive knowledge on a very topical issue, Social Media – How to handle the consequences. In today’s world, businesses and employers need to know their legal standing when it comes to social media. Megan will address putting a social media policy in place, what to include and how to actually implement it. She will also cover in detail the controversial issue of employers accessing staff social media records, covering points such as the circumstances in which an employer can gain access to social media records and what the procedure is to do this.

Workshop details: Getting a Grip Breakfast Club featuring Robyn Pearce & Megan Richards - Friday 6th September, from 7.00am – 9.00am at Write Ltd, Level 9, Baldwins Centre, 342 Lambton Quay, Wellington. Ticket price: $95 + GST. Go to more details.

Side Box: Top tips for handling interruptions
1. Switch off the email alert.
2. In your email signature, state that you only check emails a few times a day and suggest recipients phone or text if it’s urgent.
3. Put your phone on silent and in a drawer when you want to focus or redirect calls to a colleague if you can – even if only for 1 hour slots at a time.
4. Block out at least an hour a day when no one interrupts you to focus on high-value activities.
5. If you’re in an open-plan office, use headphones to signal you’re busy – and to block out the noise.
6. If possible, use a quiet room or work off-site if you can’t focus at your desk.
7. If you always drop your work to attend to every interruption, people will expect that all the time and you’ll never get a clear run at anything.
8. Educate the people around you how to treat you.
9. Print this off and keep it by your desk as a reminder! has a limited number of tickets available for promotional giveaways and press seats. Please contact Purple Sherbet to request tickets.


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