Reducing Work Interruptions

Are your communications tools actually destroying value?

I love Slack. From a collaboration perspective, I wish it’d been around a long time ago. But it’s contributing to an environment where everyone believes they have the right to disturb everyone else’s work and expect immediate responses.

Reducing Work Interruptions

To be fair, I’ve seen email used the same way, with senior managers especially guilty of expecting replies within minutes.

If someone on your team is in a response role (e.g. contact centre or support team), then fair enough. But if you’ve employed someone to create value through Deep Work (look up Cal Newport) – to analyse, write, create, code, strategise, lead, etc – then don’t demand an immediate reply. They will pay a high cost in context switching, and you’ll destroy their ability to create the real value that you hired them for.

Instead, batch up what you need ’til the end of the day. You’ll be asking them for things more sensibly. You might also find you’ve changed your mind on some things, or answered them yourself.

Most importantly, don’t create a culture where instant responses are the expectation.

If you really need an answer straight away, pick up the phone. Your team will know this signifies real urgency and treat it as such.

Don’t destroy your team’s productivity through your impatience.

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