Posted May 7, 2013 6:44 pm by with 5 comments

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332483_office_and_working_place_pics_7I sat down to write this post two hours ago. Then I got distracted. I took a phone call, that led to a couple of follow-up tasks, and then two emails came in that I could deal with in under ten minutes, so I took care of those, too. Then I had to deal with the coffee pot someone left brewing on the stove. . . (burning coffee. . and I don’t even drink the stuff.) Now, here I am, trying to get back on task while part of my brain freaks out about how late it is.

Imagine how much we could get done if we worked in a distraction free environment? Since that’s not going to happen, distracted office workers all over America by asking them what could be done to help them achieve maximum productivity.

An overwhelming number of respondents (86%) simply want to be left alone. Almost half complained about the number of impromptu meetings that occur when co-workers stop by their desk. Six out of ten said that noisy co-workers were a distraction even when they stayed on their own side of the fuzzy, grey divider.

24% of people said they could get more work done if people would just stop holding meetings to talk about the work that wasn’t getting done.

Unfortunately, eliminating actual vocal chatter doesn’t guarantee a distraction-free workplace because 46% of people said they use email, IM and phones to talk to co-workers who sit within a few feet of them.

The best solution would appear to be working from home but only 29% of respondents said they’d prefer it. I guess the world has finally come to realize that working from home doesn’t mean lounging around in your PJs all day. It comes with its own set of issues and distractions (kids, pets, dirty dishes call you from the sink. . . . )

Traditional vs Newsroom

If you’re part of a tech start-up company, you probably work in an open room with long tables and lots of people pounding away on their laptops. A lot of creative firms such as ad agencies like to work this way, too. It’s suppose to foster idea sharing and it forces a level of energy that you don’t see in a traditional setting.

But how can you concentrate with all that visual and auditory input? Here’s what found out:

  • Despite noisy co-workers cited as a top distraction, over one quarter (27 percent) prefer an “open room” or “newsroom” setting
  • Younger adults are more likely to prefer to work in a newsroom setting than their older counterpart
  • Men (42%) are much more likely to want to work in a cubicle with other coworkers than women (28%)
  • Those who are single/never married (43%) are more likely to prefer to work in a cubicle with other co-workers than those who are married (30%)
  • More than a third of those who have a boss have little desire to work alongside their higher-ups. The findings indicate that 38% would rather do unpleasant activities than sit next to their boss, such as opt for more work on their plates, sit next to someone who eats loudly, and take on a longer commute.

Even though we have a ton of technology to help us do things faster and more efficiently, it seems like there are less hours in a work day than ever before. Maybe it’s because companies are hiring 5 people to do the work of 10. Or perhaps its because we’ve been taught that we have to do it all, all the time. Or maybe its the technology itself that’s keeping us from getting our work done (Facebook. . . I’m talking to you.) Whatever the reason, distractions cost us all time and money and they leave you more stressed at the end of the day.

What we all need, is a little breathing room. Ten minutes to clear our minds and focus our thoughts. After that it’s back to blog post, video creation, Twitter, Facebook, Skype meeting, PowerPoint presentation. . . you know. . . business as usual.

  • LB

    I completely agree!!


    Storage Shed

  • tessash

    Totally agree with this. Well done mate 🙂 puzzle

  • Ashley

    I totally agree. I like to work alone but I do not like working in my house, I feel like I would be more distracted. Facebook can be a big distracter in the workplace. Also having a break for 10 mins can help you be more productive. I think it was Google that has a great environment where employees could play with many toys or items that help them think or create more ideas, but at the same time, you feel more relaxed by doing that.

  • Tiffany Gordon

    I agree! Sometimes the most aggravating part of working in an office is having co-workers who distract you for the smallest things. Whether it’s a meeting or a quick chat, it takes up a surprising amount of time and before you know it, you suddenly have a lot of backlog to deal with.

    Working from home works very well for me, since I have toddlers to take care of. It’s all a matter of balancing my time and setting good working habits. I haven’t worked in an office for years, and I have no plans of doing so again!

  • Anna Pham

    I really like your post because it’s so true for me. Working at home might be more comfortable for me but it really does seem uneffective due to too may distractions. Also the part of is very interesting, Thanks for sharing Cynthia