Death by Distraction

For the past few weeks, I have been creating an online course entitled Overcoming Communication Barriers. One of the barriers we cover in the course is “Bad Connections.”

Bad connections are a type of media barrier. By media, we refer to various means or media we use to transmit information. Obviously, a bad connection decreases our ability to effectively transmit information.

I started doing some simple math and discovered a shocking truth. If one bad connection causes me to lose 10 seconds of productivity each hour, that equals 80 seconds per average workday. That means one bad connection costs almost 6 hours of productivity every year! If I have 20 employees on my team who are having similar issues with a phone system, software package, copy machine, etc., then my organization is annually losing 120 hours of productivity due to bad connections.

An analogy a friend of mine named Patrick uses comes to mind. “One snowflake isn’t that big of a deal. However, you get a bunch of them together, and you can shut down Atlanta!”

Many times, employees learn to live with idiosyncrasies of various technology tools. We wait on the copier. We adjust to the bandwidth. We live with the dropped calls. These bad connections may not seem like much, but when we do the math, we may discover that our time-saving tools are actually costing us more than we realize.

So, how can we mitigate issues associated with bad connections?

  • If you have access to a hardwired device, use it.
    Although no piece of technology is going to run at maximum efficiency 100% of the time, the likelihood of a hardwired connection maintaining signal strength or bandwidth is much greater than a wireless device. So, if you have a call to make from your desk, use your landline instead of your cell phone. If you are working online, use a hardwired versus wireless connection. Perhaps some day, this won’t be an issue, but we’re several years away from wireless signals having the consistency and dependability of hardwired connections. Since wireless connection is rapidly becoming the norm due to the increasing use of tablets and smartphones, make sure you keep IT informed of any bandwidth issues.
  • If you are having trouble with bad connections, report it.
    Your supervisors can’t know what they don’t know. My hunch is if you are losing six hours of productivity annually, they want to know!
  • Let IT take care of IT issues.
    Several years ago, I saw a sign on a plumbing business that still makes me grin, “We repair what your husband fixed.” How many times has someone in your workplace taken an hour to do what someone in IT could do in 10 minutes? Taking a few seconds to send a request to IT may save you several hours later.

We would love to hear any additional productivity tips you have to offer. Just list them in the comments section below.

Happy training!

Greg Anderson
Written by:
Greg Anderson
Online Curriculum Developer, Strategic Government Resources
Follow Greg on Twitter!@SGRGreg

2 responses

  1. You really hit a home run with that one. My brother lives in Atlanta and it took his wife 4 hours to make a 30 minute trip during their big snowstorm!

    As for productivity, it is an old saying of the right tool (or person) for the right job. I learned (after much stubbornness) how much that affected so many areas of our lives.

    A Google search has quietly prepared me for more tasks than I want to freely admit but it works for me!

    1. I think Google has prepared people more times than they’d like to admit!

      Thanks for your perspective as always, Charles.

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