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For Workers, There Are Lots of Distractions

A new survey names personal technology as the No. 1 culprit behind work distraction.

August 11, 2014
Related Topics: Business Etiquette, Social Media, Ethics, Mobile Apps, The Latest
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Distracted August 2014

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock.

Seldom does a day pass in an office worker’s life without a secretive glance at something that’s “NSFW” — not suitable for work.

Whether it’s something inappropriate or just another BuzzFeed listicle, it’s easier than ever to stay connected to Facebook feeds, instant messages with friends or other distractions that sneak up in a work day.

New research from online employment site CareerBuilder confirms personal technology as the No. 1 culprit behind work distraction. One in four workers from a representative sample of 3,022 full-time employees admits to spending at least one hour each work day on personal phone calls, texts or emails. Some 50 percent of those polled point to cellphones and texting as the biggest productivity killers. Other sources leading to concentration disruption include gossip (42 percent), the Internet (39 percent), social media (38 percent) and snack or smoke breaks (27 percent). Noisy co-workers was next on the list at 24 percent.

“While many managers feel their teams perform at a desirable level, they also warn that little distractions can add up to bigger gaps in productivity,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “Minimize interruptions and save personal communications for your lunch hour or break.”

Three out of four employers have some measures in place to ease work distractions. About 36 percent of the companies polled block specific websites, and 1 in 4 prohibits use of personal phones.

 The study also shared some unusual occurrences that employees were engaged in. Managers caught their employees caring for a pet bird that was smuggled into work, taking selfies in the bathroom, printing a book off the Internet and wrestling.

Luke Siuty is a Workforce editorial intern. Comment below or email editors@workforce.com. Follow Siuty on Twitter at @LukeShooty.

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