Years ago, we started this series called the Friday Distraction because we thought that, by the end of the workweek, we’re all looking for a little distraction. It might be a workplace cartoon, a few websites to check out, or an infographic with some relevant statistics. The goal was to step away from the intensity of work, so we can return and refocus.
But according to this infographic from Bamboo HR, not all distractions are created equal. As you can guess, texting, social media and water cooler conversation are top workplace distractions. The one that surprised me was taking bathroom breaks – really? It’s number two on the list (um, no pun intended.)
I did find the section comparing what employees and employers feel are “welcome” distractions to be quite interesting. The top two workplace distractions for employees were taking breaks and lunch. Which makes me wonder – why are those viewed as welcome distractions? Shouldn’t employees expect to have lunches and breaks? Employees also mentioned listening to music and I can see this being a controversial one, especially around machinery. When I worked in hotels, a regular conversation occurred about kitchen staff playing music and whether it would impact safety.
And I must admit that employees saying office gossip was a welcome distraction confuses me. Many people feel that office gossip is destructive and hurtful, how can that be a welcome distraction?
On the other hand, employers seem to be anti-technology with social media and the internet ranking in the top five things that hinder productivity. I’m reminded that technology itself isn’t the problem. It’s holding people accountable. If an employee isn’t getting their work done because they spend too much time on the internet, it’s not the internet’s fault. I also thought the “talking with friends” falls into the same category. Having friends at work is a good thing and can enhance employee engagement. It’s about holding employees accountable for getting the work done.
I’m certainly not questioning Bamboo HR’s findings. I’m confident that people actually said this. The takeaway is that, when we think about creating a welcome distraction to our workday, it needs to be a legit distraction. Not an excuse to simply shirk our responsibilities.0