Mobile phones and other technological advances may make it easier for many businesses to get their work done more effectively, but a new study finds they may also be creating distractions. A survey of employers and employees from CareerBuilder
finds that texting, social media, and the Internet are considered major impediments to worker productivity.
The report, which drew on the responses of 2,175 human resources managers from a variety of companies and industries, found that 44 percent of employers feel the biggest distraction for workers is their cell phones. This was followed by the Internet, gossip, and social media, as the second, third, and fourth most distracting behaviors in the office. The full top 10 biggest "productivity killers," according to employers, are as follows:
2. The Internet
4. Social media
6. Co-workers dropping by
8. Smoke breaks/snack breaks
9. Noisy co-workers
10. Sitting in a cubicle
"Between the Internet, cellphones, and co-workers, there are so many stimulants in today's workplace, it's easy to see how employees get sidetracked," Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer of CareerBuilder, said in a statement. But she added that breaks in and of themselves were not necessarily a bad thing, that pauses in work "can actually be good for productivity, enabling the mind to take a break from the job at hand and re-energize you."
Haefner stressed that for an employer, the challenge was not to discourage any kind of break, but to encourage the right "work-appropriate" activities - ones that are energizing and healthy - and find ways to incentivize these sorts of breaks. She gives the example of taking a 10-20 minute walk outside as the sort of positive break that can actually improve productivity, and which could be rewarded through a wellness program of some kind.
Another tip Haefner offers for encouraging productivity is to urge workers to schedule breaks for a specific time, which both gives them something to look forward to and keeps them from taking numerous breaks. Also helpful is for workers to set public productivity goals, either in person or on social media, which will give them encouragement from their peers.