Just How Damaging Are Workplace Distractions?

After a number of years in the corporate world, I felt as though I was quite literally drowning. Sure I was making good money, but no amount of massages or fancy luxuries could do anything to help with my mounting anxiety. I felt insecure too, riddled with self-doubt, even though I was always on top of my workload. It felt like I was always one tiny misstep away from seeing all the balls I was juggling come crashing down.

And what happened? It did all come crashing down. I was forced to leave my job due to health problems that prevented me from being able to be in the office every day. Like so many before me, I had been chewed up and spit out by the corporate machine.

Eventually, I recovered enough to start working again, but decided that I wanted a remote job. What an eye-opening experience. Suddenly I realized that the problem with my previous job wasn’t all me, but my anxiety had been largely due to the environment I worked in.

The corporation I worked for had a massive ground floor building, all open plan except for a few offices for the executives and meeting rooms. Open plan offices are okay, but this office housed more than 800 people, half of which worked in the call center, talking all day long. The distractions from the busy and noisy environment had a huge impact on me and now that I have a quieter environment it’s improved my concentration and my quality of work massively. But it can’t just be me, right? So I explored a little further into just how damaging workplace distractions are and how telecommuting can alleviate them.

The Scale of The Problem
People who dismiss workplace distractions as nothing serious couldn’t be more wrong. Studies done by big companies, who introduced work from home programs for their employees, showed that the telecommuters are 35% to 40% more productive than their office counterparts. Other studies have estimated that businesses in the US alone lose $600 billion a year due to workplace distractions. That’s because these distractions have a huge impact on productivity. One study suggested that office workers spend up to two working hours a day on distractions and interruptions. In fact, their data showed that the typical office worker only gets 11 minutes between interruptions. This is especially terrible when you consider that it takes an average of 25 minutes to regain your concentration after being distracted…

So yes, workplace distractions lead to plenty of lost working hours but the effect goes further than that. All these constant interruptions can also lead to low morale, resignations, and strained employee/employer relationships; all of which have an impact on the profitability of the business.



Reducing workplace distractions by using remote job programs is definitely a win/win situation for everyone. Employers save money and enjoy more productive workers while those working from home feel motivated by the amount of work they can do in a less stressful and noisy environment. Now isn’t this how work should be? It was certainly life changing for me!


Author: Jessica B

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