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Study reveals 60% of work interruptions are caused by Social Media Activities

The study about workplace distractions commissioned by e-mail provider found that traditional activities such as phone calls, talking with co-workers, and ad-hoc meetings account for 43% of workplace disruptions. The remaining 57% are split up as follows:

23% Email Processing
10% Switching windows to complete tasks
9% Personal Online Activities such as Facebook
6% Instant Messaging
5% Text Messaging
3% Websearch

Furthermore, multiple devices on the desktop contribute to the problem. 65% of the participants surveyed reported that they were using up to an additional 3 devices. In fact, 45% of employees work only 15 minutes or less without getting interrupted, and 53% waste at least one hour a day due to all types of distractions, the report found.

At $30 per hour that 1 hour of lost productivity translates into $9600 in lost productivity per year (320days x $30p.Hr.)

What can be done? It certainly is impossible to turn the clock back and neither do we want to. Here are a few tips.

Some employers have subscribed to the idea that blocking all web access or at least severely blocking access it the right way to go. But as it turns out, this approach can actually HURT employee productivity. Survey after survey shows that allowing workers to do at least a limited amount of Web surfing, even on “company” time, makes workers more productive, not less.

So what do to? I think the answer is to finely tune what can be accessed. Since most distracting devices and applications require internet access and therefore have to go through the firewall router, this is the point where fine tuning can actually occur. The technology is called Unified Threat Management. Yes, it sounds draconian, but when implemented sensitively can not only reduce wasted time but also create a much safer internet environment.

Although technology plays a fundamental role in reducing risk from employee behavior, equally important is end-user education. It is important that staff understand the importance of the organization’s security policies; individual employees need to understand that they also have a role to play in their company’s security. It is a three-pronged approach - leave any one of these elements out then the business may be vulnerable to exposure.

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About the Author

Johannes Banck, Computer Systems Support & Design, LLC
Weston, CT 06883
(203) 216-9902

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