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2nd January 2015
Categories: Business TipsBusinessesGeneralWorkplace Distractions

Workplace Distractions: How Much Do They Cost Your Business?

Estimated Read Time: 5 minutes

56 times a day… It’s unavoidable! No business is ever going to be able to completely remove them from the workplace, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. I’m talking about distractions. We’re distracted, on average, 56 times a day while at work and it damages our productivity. Workplace distractions are one of the highest costs for UK businesses. After following this series of articles, you won’t be left with any doubt that your business’s distractions need to be managed.

Fortunately, we’ll also be providing solutions to significantly reduce some of the distractions affecting your workplace.

According to research, American businesses loose $650 billion each year as a result of workplace distractions. Granted we’re not American businesses but we too are throwing away money because of workplace distractions that should be either avoided or significantly limited.

Coin and CalculatorThink back to the last time you sat down at your desk and tried to complete an important task. How many times were you distracted? How many times did one of your employees come in asking for your input or help? How many times did you get distracted by a different task? Received a phone call? Or perhaps an e-mail? Now think about how long it took for you to get back to your original task after each of those distractions.

The importance of managing workplace distractions

An incredible 28% of work time is believed to be wasted as a result of workplace distractions and the resulting time it takes to recover and get back into a productive work flow. That’s roughly 2 hours every day of your employees not working at 100% productivity.

Many workplace distractions are brought on by the office environment therefore you can stop them, to some extent. Research indicates that even simple changes can positively affect employee productivity. For example, a study showed that increasing the temperature of your office from 20ºC to 25 ºC reduces work errors by 44% and increased typing speed by 150%. Other research indicates that ergonomic training & providing fully adjustable chairs can increase productivity by 17.8% over the space of a year.

Studies have shown that it takes a significant amount of time for an employee to regain productivity once they have been distracted. It’s suggested that it can take up to 15 minutes for an individual to fully recover and regain full productivity after just one minute of being distracted. Combine this with the fact that a person is distracted on average every three minutes and you realise just how much distractions can cost your business through lost productivity.

All of this means that it’s undeniable, distractions cause disruptions and disruptions cost money. 1 minute of being distracted equates to 15 minutes of disruption to work. By managing your workplace distractions you can drastically reduce disruptions and increase your employee’s work performance.

Here are some basic tips to improve workplace productivity:

Take advantage of natural lighting – This improves your employees’ vision & mood, which also impacts productivity. Artificial light can cause unwanted strain which can distract your employees from their work.

Allow your employees to take short breaks – This reduces the likelihood of employees developing RSI and shows them that you care. This should then be returned through an increase in work effort. Taking short breaks reduces the likelihood of an employee feeling overwhelmed and letting their mind wander, which means they will be more focused on the task at hand.

Talk to your employees – Ask them what will make their job easier, no one knows better than they do. When your employees are happy with what they’re doing, they’re less likely to be distracted from their work.

Come back next week to discover what a huge distraction e-mails can be, learn how to manage them and reduce the cost of distractions within your business.


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