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Digital Etiquette: The 1-Second Productivity Boost You Need to Know

Employee Engagement and Modern Collaboration, Microsoft 365, SharePoint, Teams

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Want to improve productivity and the focus of yourself and your colleagues? Follow this 1 second digital etiquette tip (this applies to Microsoft TeamsViva EngageOutlook and most any social sharing platform).

How to Get Back on Track When Distractions Derail Your Productivity

Here it is: Never type a reply message, or use a suggested reply, when a reaction will do—it’s that simple!


Many users have their notifications set up to alert them whenever a reply comes in. This breaks their focus and interrupts their work to check the message. Let’s discuss why distractions are such a big issue at work. Then, we’ll review several strategies to help reduce the negative impacts of interruptions.

3 Negative Effects of Distractions

  1. Decreases productivity. Studies suggest that a seemingly small interruption can cost up to 23 minutes to recover and re-engage in a focused state-of-mind. So, while it may seem polite to say “Thank you!” you’re hurting the productivity of your coworkers. Multiply this number by the dozens of messages that are sent to most people every day and you can see how adopting this small change across your organization can make a noticeable difference!
  2. Lowers quality of work. Distractions not only derail productivity, but the over quality of a person’s work decreases. Oftentimes, people compensate for being interrupted by working faster, but this can make things worse. In fact, working faster causes more stress, higher frustration, and requires a greater amount of effort to complete the task at hand.
  3. Reduces creativity. Interruptions can disrupt the flow of ideas and hinder creative thinking, making it difficult to come up with new and innovative solutions. Getting distracted by bings, pings, and rings can be especially detrimental to creative work that requires deep concentration, such as writing, programming, or design. 

Strategies for Staying Focused at Work

  • Turn off notifications. Many users turn off notifications to reactions. They can still see them later in their activity feed, but they don’t receive an immediate desktop alert when one comes in. 
  • Time block for focused work. Schedule blocks of time during your day to accomplish focused work without interruptions, such as early in the morning or after lunch when distractions are fewer.
  • Take breaks. Research shows that taking purposeful breaks (anywhere from 5–60 minutes) to refresh your brain and body increases your energy, productivity, and ability to focus.
  • Use a productivity method. Consider adopting a productivity technique like Pomodoro, which encourages working in a series of short bursts (25 minutes) followed by short breaks (5 minutes).
  • Practice time management. Plan your day in advance and prioritize important tasks during hours where you tend to be most productive to make the most of your time and avoid last-minute rushing.
  • Use one platform for emergencies. Some notifications can be ignored (e.g., reactions or a quick “Thx”), while others require immediate attention. It’s best to assign one platform or notification type for emergencies, such as phone calls.

Want to keep collaboration and productivity high, and disruption low? Download our Digital Workplace Communication Etiquette E-book. You’ll learn best practices on how to use digital collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams to empower your team instead of derailing them.

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