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5 Things Zapping Your Company's Productivity

Look around you: You might be inundating your employees with more distractions than you think.

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It's tough to establish a workplace that encourages creativity and collaboration and yet also promotes productivity. Foosball tables are great for letting off some steam... until the office decides a daily, multi-round tournament is in order.

How exactly do you determine what's helping and hurting productivity?

Ask.com, with the help of Harris Interactive, conducted a nationwide Office Workplace Productivity study recently to gain insight on the working habits and preferences of U.S. office workers.

If you're struggling to maintain a productive workplace, you're not alone. Here are five things that may be working against you:

1. Your awesome company culture. Alone time isn't always an option in workplaces that have awesome perks and fun, open offices--but sometimes hitting peak productivity requires it. Ask.com's study found that 86 percent of respondents preferred to work alone when they need to get a lot done. Make sure your entire team has access to quiet areas for their time to focus.

2. The office layout. If your team is experiencing low productivity overall, it may be time to switch up your office layout. According to this study, younger adults are more likely to prefer to work in a newsroom setting than their older counterparts. Also, men are much more likely to want to work in a cubicle with other co-workers compared to women. Depending on your industry, you may find that large, open rooms are best for creating collaborative spaces. Don't be afraid to poll your workers on how they'd like to switch it up.

3. Noisy neighbors. Sixty-one percent of respondents said most of their distractions come from noisy colleagues. This is interesting, particularly in light of the 27 percent of respondents who prefer an open or "newsroom" office layout.

Cut the noise level in your office by setting up an internal instant messaging system for employee communication, or simply asking them to ping each other on Gchat when they need to get in touch.

4.  Management. That's right--you could be the one impeding office productivity. More than a third of those who have a boss said they have little desire to work alongside them.

Thirty-eight percent of workers would opt for more work over a desk next to their boss. If your workers are getting tense from too much micromanaging, it may be time for you to relocate.

5.  Meetings. It's no secret that long-winded and unnecessary meetings are putting a damper on daily productivity. Nearly one-quarter of respondents reported meeting fatigue, claiming to spend more time in meetings discussing work than actually executing it, while an additional 40 percent named impromptu meetings from co-workers stopping by their workspace as a major office distraction.

Business meetings are an essential element to most workplaces, but setting some basic standards--like meeting length and direction--will keep your team productive in the long run.

Consider ways to avoid these potential distractions, and you'll kick your company's productivity to a new level.

How do you manage productivity in your office?

IMAGE: Getty
Last updated: Nov 25, 2013

ILYA POZIN is the founder of Open Me, a social greeting card company. He founded his first company, Ciplex, a digital marketing and creative agency catering to small businesses and startups, at age 17.
@ilyaNeverSleeps




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