Workplace distractions are the number one bane of productivity. You may think of workplace distractions in terms of employees doing personal work on company time. You may even include technical difficulties on your list of workplace distractions, along with inefficient operations or bothersome clients. Anything that interferes with the normal functioning of an office is potentially a workplace distraction, after all. You probably don't think of safety concerns as a workplace distraction, but they are perhaps the biggest distraction of all. How can your employees work efficiently if part of their brain is always worried about their personal safety?
Necessary Security Measures
First and foremost, make sure that you have taken care of all the basic security features your business needs. Whether it's keycards or a vault door, you want to make sure that your place of work is physically secure. Make sure to stay on top of your security updates so that your digital systems are equally secure and give your employees all the training necessary to keep them up to speed on the proper security protocols, both for their physical and their digital safety.
Your employees will have trouble focusing on their work if their health is suffering or endangered. Obviously, in certain lines of work this is very literal. Safety gear may be crucial to ensure employee security as they are working. Ensure that water is readily available to your employees and that breaks are available to your staff when needed. Offer lunch breaks or place vending machines in your workplace to keep your employees happy and healthy. Even in a relatively easy desk job, there are health hazards. Sitting at a desk can be incredibly detrimental to your health and stress is even worse. If your employees are largely sedentary, you may want to consider offering exercise or gym benefits, and if stress is a factor, then other kinds of emotional support systems may be necessary.
It's vitally important for your employees to feel supported in their workplace. That might mean emotional support through stressful times, but it can also mean systemic support through training programs to make your employees better and safer at work. Health support might come through employee health benefits or it might come through paid sick leave. It can even mean a policy that you will support your employees in the face of unreasonable client demands. The point is that if your employees do not feel adequately supported, they will feel unsafe. It's human nature to leave an environment that feels unsafe, so don't think of employee support as a helpful bonus that you can provide if you feel like it. It is, in fact, a necessary safety precaution, and you will lose employees if they don't feel supported.
Communication is key. It's key when it comes to advertising and it's key when you're working with clients, and it's just as vital for your inter-office security. Radio silence from you breeds uncertainty among your employees. Building connections with your employees will keep them engaged and improve productivity. Clear, consistent messaging shows confidence and creates a sense of security. Use business communication tools such as Slack, to keep communication easily available and understandable for your employees in a convenient app. Your employees can't know that their safety is important to you unless you communicate that fact clearly, showing your priorities with direct, open, honest communication.
If there is one thing that you can learn from the first quarter of 2020, it's that nothing is certain and you need to have a flexible business model. You never know when a global disaster is going to shut down transportation and close borders for potentially months at a time. High efficiency may have been the most important thing in the past, but now you must rely instead on the ability to adapt quickly. What if your employees need to work from home? What if they need to care fo sick relatives? Can you offer them paid time off? Can you guarantee their safety?
Safety comes in many forms, and threats to that safety are just as myriad. As a fundamental human need, safety should be the top priority for your workplace. While you may not want your employees to become complacent in their work, you also don't want them to be distracted by fears for their personal safety and security.Make sure your workplace is safe from all threats to all your employees, if you don't want to lose productivity along with your best workers.