email inbox overload interruption concept

3 Biggest Interruptions for Office Managers and How to Manage Them

You got a minute?

As an office manager, you’re probably interrupted at work by that question more than you can count. Whether it’s an executive or employee you manage, there’s always someone who needs help.

Add to that the barrage of emails and messages from team collaboration tools and it’s a wonder how you’re able to get any work done.

Your workday becomes a constant battle of fighting interruptions and distractions to accomplish tasks.

Aside from staying late or getting to the office early, there’s got a be a way to minimize interruptions so you can focus. Rescue Time, a time management software product, has a great blog post about just that. You can read the whole post here, but here are the main points:

  1. Awareness
  2. Schedule interruptions
  3. Rethink how you communicate

Here are the most common workplace distractions for office managers and how to deal with them.

1. In-Person Interruptions

By far the most common, in-person interruptions are especially challenging to manage because, well, they’re right there in your face. You can’t just walk away. To deal with these distractions, schedule ‘available’ and ‘unavailable’ time. Just be mindful that, as a manager, it’s your job to help employees when needed.

2. Emails

How many emails do you receive in a day? Dozens? Hundreds? Whatever the amount, emails account for another big portion of workplace interruptions and your productivity takes a hit with each message. Here’s how to manage email interruptions:

  • Schedule times throughout the day to review emails
  • Turn off notifications
  • Only respond immediately if absolutely necessary
  • Get rid of irrelevant messages

3. Collaboration Tools

There are so many digital tools for managers out there designed to improve productivity. But sometimes they can become quite an interruption themselves. Be sure to set guidelines with your team about how and when to contact you through your collaboration program.

greek yogurt with granola for protein snack

5 Energy-Boosting Snacks To Keep In Your Office

Falling asleep at your desk but already met your caffeine limit for the day? Try one of these energy-boosting snacks instead of going for another cup of coffee. They’re simple and can give you the energy you need to power through the rest of the workday.

1. String Cheese

If your perception of string cheese is that it’s just a snack for kids, think again. String cheese has great benefits that can keep you going. In addition to carbs from the milk, there’s a good dose of protein and calcium. There’s even a ‘light’ option that’s healthier as it has less saturated fat. You can even mix it up with some fruit or beef jerky if you’d like.

2. Trail Mix

Not just for hikers, trail mix is an excellent source of good fats, fiber, and protein and is always a good choice when it comes to snacks that give you energy. Even if you don’t like the varieties offered by snack brands, you can always make your own with the exact kinds of nuts and fruits you like.

3. Hummus and Vegetables

A Mediterranean dish that’s made from chickpeas, sesame seed paste, olive oil, and lemon juice, hummus is full of fats and protein. Combined with some vegetables, this snack is an easy and healthy way to help sustain enough energy to get you through the workday.

4. Yogurt

Yogurt–particularly Greek yogurt– is a great source of protein. You can easily add fruit, granola, or oats to keep yourself full and going longer.

5. Oatmeal

Carbs are your body’s primary source of energy. While the extra boost you get from them might not last as long as protein (since protein takes longer to break down), whole grains such as oats do last a little longer and contain B vitamins like niacin, thiamin, and folate, that work together to help metabolize energy.

office snacks for meeting

10 Snacks To Include In Your Next Office Meeting

Holding the attention of employees throughout an office meeting can sometimes be a real challenge. No matter how hard you try you can see their minds wander and eyelids begin to droop.

One of the best ways to increase employee engagement during a meeting is to provide snacks. Food gives your body the strength and energy to stay focused. If you’re scheduling a meeting soon, consider putting some of these items on the table for employees.

10 Snacks To Offer In Business Meetings

Perks of free snacks in the workplace

  • Greek yogurt

  • Fresh fruit

  • Hardboiled eggs

  • Cheese (sticks or bites)

  • Crackers

  • Granola bars

  • Hummus and pita bread

  • Pretzels

  • Nuts

  • Trail-mix

If your company regularly holds meetings, it would be beneficial to use a snack delivery service to get these products. That way everything you need to keep everyone motivated throughout the meeting can be brought right to your office, saving you the time and hassle of doing the grocery shopping yourself.

technology for hotel managers

The Digital Tools Every Office Manager Needs

As an office manager, you’re responsible for how well the office runs. You keep everything in line. And when something breaks, you fix it. It’s not exactly a flashy job, but it’s integral to the success of any company, and requires a whole host of skills. You’re at once an expert communicator, problem solver, psychologist, and (sometimes) referee.

Just like any other job, you need the right tools to keep it all running like a fine-tuned engine in order to achieve the company’s overall goals and objectives. So what tools would those be? This list provides some of the best and most popular digital tools that you should be using.


Managing expenses is a top priority for office managers. There are plenty of platforms to help simplify the process. Below are three of the most popular choices to keep your spending under control.

Expensify. Expense reports can suck. Unless you use Expensify, which helps simplify the expense management process.

Abacus. A real-time expense reporting system designed to reimburse employees quickly.

Concur. “When you can see all your spending, you can control all your costs.”

Productivity Tools

Keeping track of employee progress is essential to a productive office. Thankfully, there are lots of tools to use to keep up and collaborate with employees. Here are some good choices:

Google Calendar. Perhaps the most comprehensive calendar available, Google Calendar helps you manage a busy schedule and coordinate with employees.

Trello. When it comes to collaborating with employees, Trello is one of the best. Create as many boards and cards you need, and easily communicate with team members on progress.

OneNote. This tool by Microsoft syncs with outlook, making it easy to keep track of things. It allows you to create as many ‘pages’ as you need to divide up notes or checklists for a variety of tasks.

Professional Development

Udemy. This online learning platform offers more than 65,000 courses in a wide variety of categories, including business. Classes such as organization, customer services skills, and time management are helpful for even the most seasoned office managers.

General Assembly. Geared more towards web development, product management, and data science, General Assembly is great for those seeking practical technological skills.

Human Resources

Vacation. Sick leave. PTO. Managing human resources can be stressful. But if you’re using the right tool(s), it’s much more simple.

Zenefits. Manage your entire HR process with one, easy-to-use platform.

Gusto. Much like Zenefits, Gusto is a one-stop shop for everything HR, but it’s geared more towards small businesses as its user limit is 100 people.

Deputy. If you work for a larger company, a service like Deputy will be a better choice. Enterprise businesses like McDonald’s and UPS use this service.

Break Room Technology

You might not think the break room is an important part of your job. But plenty of studies show that productivity and happiness are linked to companies that offer a great culture, which includes providing free snacks.

Enplug. Digital signage that can keep your employees informed and entertained and your break room sleek and inviting.

Supply Wizards. Snack delivery software to keep your employees satisfied with their favorite snacks and beverages. Ordering is simple and delivery is quick. No more grocery shopping!

5 Management Mistakes That Kill Employee Motivation

As most managers who’ve been around a while know, managing employees means you have to deal with all kinds of different people. Some are highly self-motivated, while many aren’t. Dealing with employees who lack motivation can be frustrating, especially when you know that they are capable of doing a better job.

Sometimes this lack of motivation is external or caused by personal issues that the employee is going through, and other times it can be work-related. Perhaps even directly related to the things you are doing as a manager, either knowingly or not. Here are five mistakes managers make that can stifle motivation.

1. Not Empowering Employees

It’s imperative managers empower their employees and give them the opportunity to make suggestions about how to be more efficient or solve a specific problem. But don’t stop there: You need to implement their suggestions. You might not be able to do this every time, or you might have to make adjustments to their ideas, but take what they say and turn it into something actionable. It will give employees confidence and make them feel more valued, which can increase motivation.

2. Not Being Transparent

Transparency is the key to developing trust between leadership and employees and helps lead to:

  • Better relationships
  • Better solutions
  • Better engagement

Managers who aren’t transparent enough ultimately erode the trust between themselves and their employees. Be open with your employees (as much as possible) on company matters.

2. Poor Communication

Bad communication skills on part of a manager can lead to misunderstandings. You need to be clear and concise in your communications with your team for it to be effective and to ensure what is being communicated is not taken the wrong way.

Listening is equally as important. Many studies show that the average person remembers only 25% to 50% of what they hear. Become an active listener to show your employees that what they say–their concerns and ideas–has value.

3. Not Providing Room for Growth

Employees perform best when the work environment is conducive to growth. This doesn’t necessarily mean advancement within the company, although that is a motivating factor for many people. There can be personal, or professional growth. As a manager, it’s important to help groom employees to become exceptional at their jobs, so when new opportunities arise, they will have the skills and confidence to pursue them.

4. Not offering recognition

7 out of 10 employees who received recognition for their good work are happy with their jobs. Employees who are happy are more engaged and motivated, so managers would be remiss not to show appreciation to their employees (especially top performers) for their work. There are many ways you can do this. Gift cards, free lunches, or a free day off are some good places to start.

5. Not Leading by Example

Personalities are infectious. You can’t possibly expect your employees to get excited about a new strategy or task the company takes if you’re not excited about it yourself. Show them your enthusiasm and they will likely follow suit.

Perks of free snacks in the workplace

Why Offering Free Snacks is a Great Perk for the Office

A recent article in the New York Times discussed how micro-progress can help improve productivity and keep you going. The idea is this: for one task that needs to be completed, you set multiple ‘mini goals’ that you can achieve along the way to help complete the entire task. It’s an interesting approach and partly based on Newton’s 1st Law, which, in essence, means that an object in motion stays in motion.

What does this have to do with free snacks and office perks?

Well, in an effort to improve office morale, a lot of ideas are thrown around. Some of them are big (perhaps too big) and are nearly impossible carry out or too expensive. But there are smaller steps that office managers can take to help reach the ultimate goal of boosting morale. In other words, sometimes it’s the little wins that count. One such win would be offering free snacks. It’s a relatively easy perk to implement and offers a variety of benefits.

Benefits of Offering Free Snacks in the Workplace

Could improve productivity. Food gives us energy, and if employees don’t have the fuel they need to complete their tasks each day, then their productivity can be affected. That mid-morning or afternoon snack can be a real life-saver sometimes and give you enough of a boost to finish up an important task. Also, providing free snacks keeps them on-site and prevents them from wasting time having to leave the building just to find a snack.

Makes people happier. People love free stuff. What’s more is that people love free food. A recent survey found that workplaces that happiness increases among employees when free snacks are offered. Free snacks as a perk are often more important to millennials than other age groups, and with millennials now the largest group in the workforce, it’s a perk that should not be overlooked. It shows a sense of personal investment on behalf of the company in their employees, an element to workplace culture that’s so desirable by millennials that it’s essential for companies to consider.

Healthier snacks can help improve moods. Want to help prevent that afternoon slump? Offer a variety of healthier options, like yogurt, fresh fruit, or nuts. Candy and chips are nice to indulge in sometimes, but the sudden increase in sugar can leave you feeling tired. Healthy foods will keep your employees from fizzling out right when they need to power up.

Some office managers might be skeptical about this approach to their company break room. After all, offering free snacks and food to employees means someone has to purchase them. But there are plenty of snack delivery services out there to choose from that make it simple.

work distractions

5 Distractions That Kill Productivity at Work

Productivity is a high priority for most businesses. Many leaders (82% of them) consider productivity to be a top indicator of financial success or failure. Why, then, is workplace productivity only mediocre in most companies? There are many factors that are attributed to a loss in productivity, among them are distractions.

As an office manager, there is perhaps nothing more frustrating for you than employees who are unable to complete their work. Especially because of unnecessary distractions. To mitigate these interruptions, you first need to identify them, then decide how (and if) you can prevent them from causing problems among staff. The list below offers a good place to start.

5 Workplace Distractions to Eliminate to Improve Productivity

1. Cell Phone Notifications

Social media, game notifications, and text messages are endless. As most people keep their cell phones on their desks, within arms reach, it’s inevitable that interruptions will occur more than once throughout the day–if only for even a second. While you don’t want to run the risk of micro managing too much, it’s well within reason to encourage employees to keep their cell phones out of reach and out of sight. Not only will it stop employees from jumping at every notification that comes through, it also prevents them from checking their phones for no reason out of habit.

2. Politics

We’re not talking office politics here. NPR previously reported on increased political tensions in workplaces for the 2016 election compared to past cycles, resulting an increase in workplace arguments and stress due to politics. As The Atlantic reported:

  • 87% read political social-media posts during the day
  • nearly 50% reported witnessing a political discussion turn into an argument
  • 29% say they’re less productive post election*

Let those stats sink in a bit.

The amount of stress and distractions accrued just from receiving a steady dose of news throughout the day can (and likely will) derail your entire workflow. Managers need to help their employees focus on work to keep productivity levels where they need to be. Encourage employees to keep political opinions to themselves to avoid any arguments.

3. Toxicity

Just about any workplace can become toxic, either in an instant (as noted above with politics) or over time. Constant drama, gossip, dysfunctional competition, and disrespect are just some of the signs of a toxic workplace. Such environments are often attributed to poor leadership. As Annie McKee, a company leadership advisor, writes in her book “How To Be Happy At Work,” such toxic conditions “result in fear, cynicism, lack of trust, anger and withholding of time, energy and talent, not to mention deep and pervasive unhappiness.” This doesn’t really set the groundwork for a productive office, does it? It’s essential that office managers recognize any and all elements that can cause a once-healthy workplace into a toxic one, then quickly provide solutions to the problems at hand.

4. Hunger

Consider this from Harvard Business Review: “Imagine a world where filling up at Mobil meant avoiding all traffic and using BP meant driving no faster than 20 miles an hour. Would you then be so cavalier about where you purchased your gas?” In context, the article suggests that fueling your body with food and getting gas for your car are not the same–what you eat impacts your productivity at work. As a manager, you should encourage employees to eat well so they can stay energized to complete their tasks. There are days, of course, when time just gets away from you. In these instances, it’s great to offer employees snack options. You can have wholesale snacks delivered right to your office, or go the more traditional route and get vending machines.

5. Not Planning

At the heart of being productive is having a plan. Coming into work on Monday morning without any vision for what needs to be accomplished that week will lead to a ‘reactive’ approach to work, where employees just respond to what’s being thrown at them. Not only should employees organize and plan their work week in advance, but they should have a plan ready for when they are inevitably interrupted throughout the day. New research shows that creating a plan for when you’re interrupted can help you easily get back on track and increase your productivity.

How to Make the Workplace More Fun & Engaging

Employees having fun in the office

Let’s get one thing straight: work shouldn’t be a drag. Sure, employees are there to do a specific job and help the company succeed, but it shouldn’t be an accomplishment just to make into the office. After all, they spend most of their waking hours during the week at work, so why not make it a place that’s exciting? Or where employees look forward to going each day? It might sound counterproductive, but a fun workplace can actually increase productivity.

So if you’re looking for ways to add a little fun to your workplace, here are some ideas to get you started.

7 Ways to Make Your Office Fun

1. Make People Laugh

When’s the last time you laughed–really laughed–at work? Chances are it was a long time ago. Even the most serious of jobs need a little humor every now and then. Laughing has some great benefits. Try instituting a humor bulletin board where employees can pin cartoons or jokes for others to see.

2. Team Building Activities

A good manager can recognize when their team is just not, well, a team. One of the best ways to build a cohesive unit is through team building exercises. These activities foster positive relationships among your employees that lead to better employee relationships and an increase in productivity. Try a group lunch outside of the office, or an after-work activities like bowling or trivia.

3. Celebrate Birthdays

Who doesn’t like birthday parties? Depending on how large or small your office is, you can either celebrate individual birthdays, or have a party once a month to celebrate multiple birthdays at one time. You can even include a fun little game for everyone to play.

4. Decorate

Nobody likes to feel like they’re just another face in the crowd. Promoting individualism is great for morale. One way to do this is by allowing employees to decorate their workspace. Encourage them to get creative and to create a space that’s unique to their personality.

5. Create an Engaging Break Room

We’ve written about the benefits of an engaging break room before, and it’s always high on the list of what makes a workplace fun. Free snacks, comfy chairs, and a unique design encourage employees to mix and mingle, which further develops their work relationships with other employees.

6. Company Lunches

Depending on the size of your company, you can do weekly or monthly lunches for the whole office. This is a great way to get employees from various departments to sit down together and engage in conversations outside of work topics. It’s great for morale.

7. Host Contests

Some healthy competition is good for the soul. Whether it’s a raffle of sorts or a chili cook-off, a little contest from time to time spices things up for employees. Just be sure to take a quick survey to see which type of contests most people are interested in. Not everyone will like the same ones.