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Top 10 Reasons Your Employees are Distracted at Work

Patrick Ball on August 15, 2016 11:25 AM

To say workplace distractions abound would be the understatement of the year. In today’s office environment, everything and everyone is a potential distraction.

In fact, many of the workplace advances that enable us to be more efficient in a global economy can also shoulder the blame for some of our most common distractions. The unrelenting streams of email, the smart phones we check incessantly and the open floor plans that promote socialization collaboration, just to name a few.  

Add them all up and distractions become a drain on productivity – and a costly one.

Let’s take a look 10 of the most common office distractions presented in infographic form, with a special spotlight on one major threat to employee productivity that's often overlooked in lists like this one.

The infographic below was created by folks at Weekdone, which describes itself as the better team management tools company.

It's a solid list. You've got:

  1. Meetings

  2. Office Politics

  3. Socializing with Co-Workers

  4. Emails

  5. Internet 

  6. Fixing Others' Mistakes 

  7. Conducting Personal Business 

  8. Micromanaging Bosses

  9. Wrong Temperature 

  10. Multiscreen Multitasking 

You already know how meeting culture can kill productivity, and how damaging micromanaging bosses can be to employee engagement. The Internet is, well, the Internet. But we want to focus on No. 7 -- Conducting Personal Business.  

Family Matters 

From ordering concert tickets to scheduling appointments, "Conducting Personal Business" covers quite an array of activities. One of the biggest has to be dealing with family matters. 

Sometimes it takes a few seconds, like when dad calls in search of the WiFi password you helped him reset last week. Sometimes it can derail a whole day, like when the nanny calls in sick. And other times, the distractions can seem constant, like when you're struggling with the cost of child care or scrambling to find quality care for an aging parent.   

These are the realities of today's workforce. About 9 of 10 dads and 7 in 10 moms work outside of the home. Nearly half of Americans in their 40s and 50s are in what we call the "Sandwich Generation," referring to the fact that they're providing some level of support for their children and aging parents. 

Last year, our Better Benefits survey of Fortune 1,000 professionals found that 90 percent of employees have left work due to family responsibilities, and 30 percent cut back by 6 or more hours per week. In our third annual Cost of Care survey, we learned 74 percent of working parents say their job is impacted when child care plans fall through. How are they impacted?  

  • 78 percent of respondents use a sick day
  • 37 percent have fallen behind on work
  • 28 percent have had to lose a day’s pay

When distractions lead to issues like absenteeism and productivity loss, they can really impact an organization's bottom line. That's why more and more employers are turning to family-care benefits in an effort to recruit, retain and engaged today's top talent. 

In our modern world of work, we can no longer expect employees to check their personal lives at the door when they come to the office -- certainly not when we expect them to be responsive to email when they're not "on the clock." Leading employers stand apart because they're leaning in to work-life integration, offering benefits and perks that limit outside distractions by providing solutions that reduce the friction in employees' lives. 

Check out Weekdone's infographic below for more on the 10 Biggest Office Distractions, and click here to learn more about how Care@Work can power your workforce and propel your business by crossing one item off this list. 


Avoid These 10 Distractions to Get Work Done