I’ve made a mistake… Notifications have been ruining the team’s effectiveness.

I decided that I wanted to run a paperless company; no more handwritten notes, information accessible anywhere we go, but I failed to see the impact.

They’re A Good Thing

They let you know when something important is happening, straight away.

These notifications ensure that you don’t miss out on vital information and enable to react straight away.


Except it’s not.

Most of the time the thing you are actually working on is the most important thing. That’s why you’re working on it.

Anything distracting you away from that, like notifications, is getting in the way.

I Have Control

I know you think you’re still in charge.

It’s only a couple of minutes Rich. I was really waiting for that email Rich. Someone’s replied to my Facebook status Rich…

I was listening to this podcast from Jonathan Levi’s the other night and he said it takes 15 minutes to get back in the zone after being distracted.

15 minutes! For every notification!

If that wasn’t bad enough, this life hacker article suggestions it’s more…

Then enter the number in below:


That’s a lot, isn’t it?

How many of you have been sneaking a look at your Instagram account or messenger app whilst at work, thinking it’s no big deal?

I bet your phone has pinged a few times since you started reading this article?

Now, imagine you run a company and you’ve given your whole team access to email systems, company social media accounts and internal comms platforms that pinning all over the place.

All day, every day.

My team is massively distracted and it’s all my fault!

How Did I Spot The Notification Problem?

I’d switched off a lot of my own notifications and have a daily schedule that keeps me focused on tasks.

For example, I only check email once a day.

12.30pm – 1pm daily is set aside for emails and phone class.

30 minutes.

That’s it!

It was Dylan, one of my team, who helped me see we had a problem.

Dylan is extremely conscientious. He’ll help anyone.

He epitomises our truth “Solving Problems and Helping People Makes GoodThingss Happen”.

Too Often

Dylan is always the first to feedback on an announcement; the first to like or comment on a Workplace post.

He’s first every time, all of the time and all hours of the day and night…

Sounds great doesn’t? Exactly what you want from a team member?

But wait…

For Dylan to be so interactive, other aspects of his life must be getting neglected.

Not just in his working life either, but his personal time was being disrupted.


I’d Failed My Team

I thought I was doing the right thing.

Digital comms that kept us all connected, wherever we were and whenever we were working.

It didn’t matter when your working hours were; we have the facility to keep everybody updated and included in decision making.

A huge step towards our goal of offering flexible hours and remote working across the whole company.

However, I haven’t given my team the skills to protect themselves from the barrage of notifications that they receive.

It turned out Dylan had the Workplace window open in his browser all the time. So everytime someone posted or commented, he got pinged and felt compelled to respond.

A Drop In The Ocean

Those are just the work notifications. What about all their personal ones?

The team is free to carry their mobile with them, so what about all the other apps they have on their phone.

How many of those are disrupting their day?

And night

Family comes first is another one of our truths and perhaps the most important.

How much of their home life is being affected by all this noise?

Massive amounts of time with their kids, partners, parents and friends are being impacted by notifications?

You don’t have to guess how much time you’re losing with loved ones.

Use the calculator now, if you haven’t already.

The Fix

As a leader, I need to educate my team. This article is a start, but it doesn’t go far enough.

I’m working on a feedback training session for our team members. A large part of it will be on listening.

Being in the moment when someone is trying to feedback and talk to you.

Notifications and their impact will sit very nicely in that training session.

At the end of it, I hope we’ll have better control of our time and real appreciation on what is important in our lives.

I guarantee you, it’s not that latest “like”.


Rich M Brady
A creative, imaginative, free-thinking, idea generating, problem solver. If you like what I've been talking about, get in touch. If you want me to dig down a bit deeper into what I've talked about, please just ask the question, send me a message, write in the comments or click on your favorite social channel at the top the page. You'll find me there!

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