WORK FROM HOME: Interruptions are KILLING our productivity!


You sit down at your computer to get some work done. But there’s an e-mail that just came in. Should you check it? Really quick? Then the phone rings. After a few minutes, you try to refocus. But the person in the cubicle nearby is talking — loudly — about the weekend. Then somebody stops by your desk ”to ask a quick question.” Sound familiar? It’s amazing workers today get anything done. Common office distractions are everywhere — from a barrage of email to phone calls, interruptions from co-workers and the lure of social media.

A study (by Basex, a New York research firm) found office distractions ate up 2.1 hours a day for the average worker. That adds up to 28 billion hours a year, using federal labor statistics and wages, or the loss of $588 billion a year in the United States alone. Another study found that employees devoted an average of 11 minutes to a project before being distracted.

University of California, Irvine researchers found that once interrupted, it takes workers 25 minutes to return to their task, if they return at all. Another finding: people switch activities, such as making a phone call, speaking with someone in their cubicle or working on a document, every three minutes on average.

So... how are interruptions plaguing you as you work from home? Thoughts?

Photos: Getty