Distractions are all over the workplace, from too many notifications on our devices to coffee breaks we don’t need. We dodge common interruptions such as these throughout our daily jobs and avoid getting sidetracked as best as possible.

With tech improving our means of communication and productivity, along with it comes new sources of disruption. The devices and tools that help us do our jobs may be counterproductive to our benchmarks and company goals.

Turns out, there may be some validity to this idea. ItsWorthMore.com, a tech resale marketplace, recently released a study that uncovered insights into how much we are distracted by our devices, and how this floods into the workplace.

They found employees spend an average of 2.2 hours per day on chat and work synergy apps, a significant amount of a standard workday dedicated to online communication. 

While notably finding that 20 percent of survey respondents engage in workplace gossip, the survey presents interesting takeaways about how digitally distracted we truly are.

Work apps might do more harm than good

As the remote workforce grows stronger and workplaces are becoming less conventionally linked, connectivity apps are becoming somewhat of a necessity. These chat-based services allow us to communicate with each other easily on a platform that is designed specifically with professionals in mind. 

Unfortunately, they’re becoming more of a nuisance to workers, with many reporting the following solutions to distracting work apps:

  • Mute notifications (39%)
  • Set status to “away” or “do not disturb” (21%)
  • Close work messenger apps entirely (20%)

Regardless of how people remedy the impact of distractions, they still exist nonetheless. The vast majority of people surveyed (94%) admitted to being regularly annoyed by the interference of connectivity apps. These means of online communication are crucial, but may draw our attention away from daily tasks.

Meetings are a source of digital distraction

Gathering employees for important roundtable discussions is a part of a regular schedule in a thriving business. Meetings were meant to produce results with real-time collaboration between teams. But in some cases, meetings have become a diversion that is hurting productivity. Some notable findings include:

  • 81% of employees confess to having worked on other work-related tasks during a meeting instead of paying attention.
  • Worse, 63% of employees revealed a habit of working on personal tasks during meetings
  • At over 72%, senior-level executives were most likely to not be fully engaged in meetings and instead focused on personal tasks

One reason for distracted meetings may be a lack of leadership. With someone guiding the discussion in a single direction with clear organization, the conversation can be controlled and fixated toward the goals of the meeting.

This face-to-face interaction is key to maintaining a productive work environment. Gesa Pannenborg, working on behalf of the creative team at It’s Worth More, expands on this. “Clearly, technology is becoming more integrated into our work lives. But, a key finding from the survey is that face-to-face communication is still the preferred method for interaction among coworkers. It’s important to keep in mind that while these messengers can be beneficial, they should be viewed as compliments to face-to-face conversations, and not a replacement.” 

Improving on overall office productivity should be a goal for all supervisors and employees, and that starts with keeping digital distractions to a minimum.

Originally published on Inc.

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