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You don’t need to scroll too far through this site to see that South Africans are going through some distracting times. From drama in parliament, load shedding and the crippled state of our electrical provider and general rampant criminal activity. As a nation we deal with a lot of negative headlines.

As managers and CEOs of South Africa it is becoming increasingly hard to keep our employees focused on the task at hand. Constant distractions bombard all of us on a daily basis. What can we do to help create a distraction free work environment?

I recently spoke to Godfrey Madanhire, a professional motivational speaker and owner of Dreamworld Promotions, about how he keeps his staff focused in times like these.

“Be a caring and genuine employer”

Madanhire believes that being a genuine and caring employer is useful in times like these. Alleviating stress where you can as an employer will go a long way to helping your staff overcome certain issues. Organise lift clubs to cut transport cost. Help by subsidising lunches as the cost of living increases. Recruit an extra security guard, if it’ll help prevent criminal activities outside the work environment. Putting these measures in place will help secure a feeling of security at work. Eliminating these external factors for employees will allow them to focus more at work. But if you’re unable to help financially with certain issues being emotionally understanding of the problems is the right course of action.

“Adapt and evolve”

We know what our challenges are. We know, for instance, that load shedding is now a fact of our lives. So adapt to that instead of being angry and upset each time the power gets dropped. Prepare your company by having a Plan A and a Plan B. Start thinking about using alternative energy in the darkest of hours as an example. By being prepared you are setting an example to your staff that no matter the problem we can overcome them. Be the leader that leads by example, provide solutions to problems we all face as South Africans.

“Be approachable”

Becoming a friendly employer is vitally important. When issues flare up, it is healthy for staff to feel that they can turn to you. Nothing disheartens employees as quickly as a strict boss and becoming an unapproachable employer is a massive distraction in itself. There’s no need to place more paranoia in the work environment when the outside world is filled with it. It is impossible to be able to provide the answers to everything, but trying to resolve the issue is better than pointing it out again. It also means that you’re alerted to possible problems before they become problems and keeps you in the loop of the day-to-day running of your business.

“Keep employees happy on a daily basis”

As employers we forget that most of our employee’s daily lives are spent at work. Creating an environment that is welcoming for all is important for cultivating a corporate culture. A great corporate culture isn’t generated at events; it’s established around water coolers. If your employees like to play pranks, let them have fun. Be adaptive and allow your employees feel comfortable in their workspace. Once they feel comfortable they’ll zone into the work mode quickly and efficiently with happy smiles.

This article was originally published on The South African

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