With more employees being digitally savvy, you’d think that the top workplace distraction would be surfing the web or looking at cat videos.

However, a new survey found that traditional forms of distraction such as taking breaks away from the desk, and spending that time at the water cooler, still prevail.

This brings us to the question – to what extent do these activities hinder productivity and should they be banned?

According to a survey of more than 1,000 employees by BambooHR, the distraction which takes up the most time on the clock is taking breaks to the office kitchen, water cooler, or break room (other than for lunch).

Trips to the bathroom placed second on the list, while small talk and gossiping with coworkers was the third biggest workplace distraction.

Surprisingly, digital-related distractions such as surfing the web and using social media for non-work-related reasons only came in fifth and seventh on the list respectively.

Even more surprising is that “upper management and executives spend more time participating in these activities than lower-level employees (entry-level, intermediate, and middle management),” the report stated.

Furthermore, though the amount of time varies, about two-thirds (68%) of employees felt that being distracted by social media for personal, non-work-related reasons each day is appropriate.

Half felt that fewer than 10 minutes per day is appropriate, two in five felt that 10-30 minutes daily is appropriate, and one in 10 felt more than 30 minutes daily is appropriate.

Even a 3-second distraction can break your concentration
Your staff’s 10 biggest workplace distractions

Thankfully, about half (47%) of employees only spend fewer than 30 minutes per week being unproductive because of unnecessary distractions.

Additionally, they also try to make up for the time they spend being distracted.

More than half (56%) revealed they try to make up for time spent on personal activities while at work by working at home or in the office after standard work hours.

Of those, 39% spend more than 30 minutes per day making up for it.

The survey also found that 18% of employees felt that distractions, such as breaks away from their desks and listening to music, enhance their performance.

About one third (34%) of employees say listening to music while on the clock makes them more productive and 42% of them listen to music at least 30 minutes per day while at work.

Even so, 20% of employees thought that workplace distractions consistently hinder their workplace performance and efficiency.

Among the top activities they felt hinder performance the most, include using social media for non work-related purposes, corresponding with family members, and taking breaks in the break room or at the water cooler).

While it might be tempting to completely ban these distracting activities to stop them from hindering productivity, the survey recommends that a healthy level of distractions are taking place to maintain satisfaction and retention.

Let us know how you feel in the comments below.

Nevertheless, if you are still determined to curb these distractions, here are three helpful tips by Human Resources.

BambooHR_Workplace Distractions_Infographic_001

Image: Shutterstock

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