How many times each day are you distracted by social media, email or instant messages?
According to a recent survey from social email software providerharmon.ie, you and other employees are blowing $10,375 in productivity each year, and all because we don’t disconnect from an online chat quickly enough, or we get sidetracked by a bulging email inbox, or we fall into a Facebook hole of photos, updates and messages.
In a survey of more than 500 employees in U.S. businesses of all sizes, harmon.ie found that at companies with more than 1,000 employees, these kinds of digital distractions can waste more than $10 million each year.
And in this social media-obsessed age, typical water cooler banter and pointless meetings are no longer the greatest time-wasters at work. Almost 60% of workplace distractions involve social networks, text messaging, IMs or email. In fact, navigating between multiple tabs and windows to keep an eye on a wide variety of apps is a huge distraction in itself.
In the end, almost half of the employees in this study said they worked just 15 minutes or less without getting interrupted or distracted. More than half said they wasted at least one hour every day day due to distraction.
Yaacov Cohen is a co-founder and the CEO of harmon.ie. In an email, he wrote that the survey results were particularly ironic.
“Information technology that was designed at least in part to save time is actually doing precisely the opposite. The very tools we rely on to do our jobs are also interfering with that mission. We’re clearly seeing what psychologists call ‘online compulsive disorder’ spill over from our personal lives to the work environment.”
Here are the greatest digital distractions noted in the survey:
- Email processing: 23%
- Switching windows to complete tasks: 10%
- Personal online activities such as Facebook: 9%
- Instant messaging: 6%
- Texting: 5%
- Web search: 3%
While these distractions are money-wasters for companies, they also negatively effect individuals’ ability to creatively solve problems, think deeply about work-related issues, efficiently process information and meet deadlines.
Does digital distraction have an impact on how you work? In the comments let us know how Facebook, IMs and email hamper or help you in the office — and what steps you might have taken to minimize distractions.
image courtesy of Flickr, rishibando