Up to 3 Hours Each Workday Lost to Smartphones, Other Distractions

June 27, 2016 Mary Lorenz

They may be at work, but that doesn’t mean employees are actually working. According to a new survey from CareerBuilder, more than 1 in 5 employers estimate their employees are only productive for five hours of the day, thanks in large part to distractions such as smart phones, the Internet, and other co-workers. Of these distractions, mobile phones and texting habits present the biggest obstacle to productivity. When asked to name the biggest productivity killers in the office, employers cited the following:

  • Cell phones/texting: 55 percent
  • The internet: 41 percent
  • Gossip: 39 percent
  • Social media: 37 percent
  • Co-workers dropping by: 27 percent
  • Smoke or snack breaks: 27 percent
  • Email: 26 percent
  • Meetings 24 percent
  • Noisy co-workers: 20 percent

What Does This Mean For You?

While you can’t control what workers do — and attempting to ban cell phone usage, the internet and social media may force employees to look elsewhere for less rigid employers — you can manage it. Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer of CareerBuilder, suggests addressing the issue head on. “Have an open dialogue with employees about tech distractions,” she says. “Acknowledge their existence and discuss challenges/solutions to keeping productivity up.”


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