Business Performance Blog

We share our news and reflections on the world of business.
Join our discussion on the latest research, reports and opinion.

Stop Office Interruptions from Colleagues

Submitted by  on July 12th, 2012

Business man plugging both ears with fingersI hear the same story from many of my colleagues: “I start the day with the best of intentions to get a lot done. But then people start dropping into my office unannounced. My day quickly gets swallowed up with all of these interruptions. I get to the end of the day and I find I’ve got nothing important done.”

Interruptions are a normal part of your working day. For some, it’s important that you tend to them straight away, such as the customer threatening to beat up one of your reps in the foyer. Most, though, are a drain on your day.

What can you do to get more productive hours in your day? I find the trick is to get colleagues not to interrupt me in the first place. One strategy I use here is to shut my door when I need uninterrupted time. If you are in an open office or otherwise don’t have a door, you can put a sign on your desk that reads, “Please, no interruptions”.

Another strategy I use is to let colleagues, customers, clients, and so on, know when I am available. I set aside a couple of hours each day that I advertise as my available time for impromptu questions.

When someone does interrupt your work, watch your body language. Your body posture and movement sends clear messages about your availability. Here are some things to watch.

When someone interrupts you, turn your head to speak without turning your body away from your work. Don’t put your pen down or take your hand off the keyboard. This sends an unambiguous message that you are in work mode. Also, be short in your response whilst remaining polite and respectful. Ask the person interrupting to make a time for them to come back at a more convenient time for you.

Don’t neglect socializing altogether. Sharing fun, stories and general chit-chat is an important part of relationship building. Be careful not to become a wet rag. The secret is knowing when to socialize and how to set aside time to work on the important stuff.

What strategies do you use to prevent interruptions from impeding your productivity? Please share your stories here.

Training Projects Template Pack

Are you tasked with designing and delivering a complete training program and finding it hard to get organized? Let us get you on the right track quickly with our Training Projects Template Pack. This pack’s comprehensive set of tools, templates and guides will help you manage your training program design, development and delivery through all phases of your training project. Rely on the experts to have you presenting a professionally presented and complete report, form or analysis in no time. Find out more and download the Training Projects Template Pack today.

Posted in Communication | Comments (2)

2 Responses to “Stop Office Interruptions from Colleagues”

  1. Karen Says:

    Ear plugs work for me. They are a must in an open work space because research shows it takes knowledge workers roughly 23 mins to refocus after an interruption.

  2. Leslie Allan Says:

    Thanks Karen. That’s a great idea for filtering out unwanted noise. I can see that wearing earplugs also sends a strong message that you are in the middle of important work and don’t want to be interrupted.

    Kind Regards, Les Allan

Leave a Reply

Share This

  • twitter
  • facebook
  • linkedin
  • googleplus
  • gmail
  • delicious
  • reddit
  • digg
  • newsvine
  • posterous
  • friendfeed
  • googlebookmarks
  • yahoobookmarks
  • yahoobuzz
  • orkut
  • stumbleupon
  • diigo
  • mixx
  • technorati
  • netvibes
  • myspace
  • slashdot
  • blogger
  • tumblr
  • email
Short URL:



Recent Posts