Excellent internal communication in the work place paves way for higher levels of productivity. On a construction site, internal communication plays an important role as it helps the project manager to know if employees are carrying out the necessary tasks. Although the application of smartphones and mobile apps can help in productivity and communication, they also pose the greatest distraction for workers. This article discusses strategies that project managers and site supervisors can use to limit distraction and improve the overall communication at a construction site.
Limit Technology Use
With the ever-increasing capabilities of smartphones, its uses are endless. Listening to music, watching videos, playing games and instant messaging are just some of the distractions that may consume a worker’s day. Because mobile phones are necessary for emergencies and can be used as a vital communication tool within the construction site, they cannot be banned. Instead, limiting phone use can be a rule applied to a jobsite. As a compromise, provide workers plenty of breaks to not only rest, but as an opportunity to use technology. By doing this you are ensuring that their technology use is not interfering with the productivity of a given project.
Limit Earphone Use
Many workers may prefer listening to music throughout the day to keep them entertained, and help them focus. Although this strategy may work in other workplace settings, having earphones plugged in may be problematic and dangerous on a jobsite. Not only does using earphones limit communication with a particular individual, it prevents them from hearing important instructions. In addition, construction workers must be alert and kept on their toes for any emergencies or accidents that may occur. Being preoccupied with music may hinder one’s ability to react these unpredictable circumstances. Consider limiting earphone use to certain parts of the day, or have a no earphone policy if you believe it can risk the safety of the employee and other members of the team.
Delegate Tasks One at a Time and Monitor Accordingly
Delegating a single task at a time can help keep workers focus on what job is in front of them. By doing this you are not overwhelming employees, but ensuring that they remain productive in whatever you have chosen for them to do. In terms of limiting distraction, perhaps there are jobs on your construction site that are less stressful and can be done effectively with earphones on. By segmenting each task, you will be able to apply more specific rules and will be able to monitor the productivity of each worker more effectively. By doing this, you will find that you are allowing for technology to be used, but in ways that does not hinder the overall progress of a project. Moreover, providing specific instructions ensures that you are in constant communication with employees, as they look to you for the next step.
Have Employees Turn Off Mobile Phones
Having a no cellphone or turn off rule should only be a last resort, and can be implemented if all other strategies have not worked. If, despite your best efforts, technology remains a serious distraction for all employees, this is the time to enforce this rule. This may include collecting all mobile phones at the beginning of the day, or having all employees turn off their device. Although this may seem like a strict punishment, it may be useful during critical junctures of a project, like right in the beginning, when everyone needs to be on board and needs constant instructions. In contrast, this strategy may be useful in the final days or weeks before a project is completed to ensure your team is focused and meeting specific timelines. Although this may be a drastic measure, using it sparingly may ensure that productivity does not drop off, especially during the most important stages of a project.
These strategies aim to limit the impact the distraction that technology may have on workers, but not necessarily eliminate its use. By limiting the amount of interaction employees have with mobile phones, they will be more engaged with the job and will always be available for any important messages or instructions. Reducing the possibility of distraction can only help improve the overall communication of a construction team. Distractions are completely unavoidable, and something that everyone, including managers and supervisors are susceptible to. The goal of these strategies is not to completely eliminate distractions, but simply limit them and not have technology affect a team’s overall productivity.