The top workplace distractions involve not just where you work, but who you work with.
Virtually everything about the way we work is changing; physical settings have undergone a transformation too.
So it’s also normal to see that the way we get distracted while working has also shifted, and this is why Udemy set out to measure how distracted employees are during work hours, and how they’re responding to these distractions.
The poll by Udemy and Toluna reports that 80% of people report being distracted by chatty coworkers, the number one office place distraction.
Office noise is the second most cited workplace disturbance, with seven out of ten respondents citing noise as a top bother in their day-to-day workflow.
The aforementioned changes in the workplace, with 61%, is third in the ranking. Meetings (60%) and social media (56%) complete the spots of job distractors with position four and five.
Prime time for distraction hits at midday, with 46% answering that noon to 3pm is their most distracted period.
Meetings and social media
60% of our survey respondents said meetings are just another distraction from the work they need to complete, as they frequently fall victim to interruptions and distractions. The constant barrage of interruptions actually makes 34% of our survey respondents like their jobs less.
Most survey respondents (58%) said they don’t need social media to do their jobs, but they still can’t make it through the day without it.
When asked to rank various social media sites and communication tools by degree of distraction, Facebook came in first (65%), followed distantly by Instagram (9%), Snapchat (7%), and Twitter (7%).
Millennials and Gen Z
Millennials and Gen Z are also the most likely age group to describe themselves as distracted at work.
74% of them report being distracted, and of those, 46% say it makes them feel unmotivated, and 41% say it stresses them out.
Smartphones are also an issue, as more than a third of millennials and Gen Z (36%) say they spend two hours or more checking their smartphones during the workday. That adds up to at least 10 hours every week when they’re doing something outside their job responsibilities.
Meanwhile, a third of Baby Boomers claim they never engage with their personal devices at work.
A matter of continuous teamwork
There are a lot of matters to keep in mind:
- Devices and technology are only becoming more pervasive.
- We’re all becoming more reliant on them.
- New generations entering the workforce have never lived any other way.
- Employers aren’t doing much, if anything, to instruct workers on how to manage the constant barrage of noise, interruptions, and notifications in order to maintain performance.
While workplace distractions are only going to increase at the rate we’re going, it’s imperative that companies with a learning culture stay attuned to where employees are struggling and design solutions and trainings that speak directly to their needs.
We must never forget: Half of our work interruptions are self-inflicted!