Top 5 distractions in the workplace

Productivity is a popular word when it comes to business. Giving a hundred and ten percent all the time might be ideal but it isn’t always possible when you’re surrounded by distractions in the workplace.

A helpful tip is to locate the barriers preventing you from focussing and learn how to break them down. Lilli Hender from Office Genie explores five of the most popular distractions and offers ways to stop them taking hold.

Wasting Time at Work



1) Hungry like the wolf

A rumbling stomach, whether it’s yours or someone else’s, can be a big distraction in the workplace: hunger and the food we eat greatly affects our productivity levels . Not only can it be a tad embarrassing, it can also be accompanied by an uncomfortable longing for food.

There are more than a few ways to prevent your stomach rumbling: the top one is having a healthy diet and swapping larger, fewer meals for smaller, more frequent (healthy) snacks. Drinking water or herbal tea can also help, as well as physical activity and getting a good night’s sleep.

2) You say hello and I say goodbye

While conversations with your colleagues can be productive, they can sometimes be of little use to your actual work. Office chatter can provide a pick-me-up after a series of more monotonous tasks but learning to curb it is important.

Try to save any personal topics for lunchtime and for any work-related questions, see if you can find a solution by yourself first. Sometimes a quick Google is all that’s needed, rather than a fifteen-minute chat with your coworker.

3) Everybody’s gone surfing

When you spend most of your working day at a computer, it’s easy to get caught up in the world wide web. On Office Genie we found British workers spend on average 48 minutes a day surfing the internet for personal use! Social media is the top distraction closely followed by retail sites and news outlets.

Resisting the temptation to watch cute cat videos and reply to Facebook comments requires willpower and a bookmark bar. Save anything you want to watch or read for your lunch break and prevent further temptation by keeping your phone on silent and in the cloak room.

Top Distractions



4) Message in a bottle

Online distractions come in various shapes and sizes: in addition to social media, emails and instant messages are some of the worst culprits. Some days it seems like your inbox will never reach the nirvana that is “all read”.

Setting aside time in the morning and afternoon can help you sort through the emails and notifications you’ve accumulated. If you’re very busy and really need to focus, turn instant messaging off and perhaps even consider adding a temporary out-of-office reply.

5) I like coffee, I like tea

Hot drinks are a necessary source of power in the workplace and because of this, tea rounds are inevitable. We lose on average 24 minutes a day making drinks and while it might be time well drunk, if it happens too regularly it can turn into time wasted.

Solo tea rounds are the least efficient so if you’re going to make tea, ask those around you; you’ll be pleased when they do the same. Investing in a coffee machine can cut the time spent waiting for the kettle to boil but even then, until robot butlers are the norm, you’ll still have a few minutes’ delay.

When you spend a significant portion of your day in the workplace, it’s inevitable you’ll be distracted some of the time. We all need a break every now and then but we also need to get on and do our job. Quickly grab a cuppa, bookmark an article you’d like to read, then get back to work!


Lilli Hender writes about the latest workplace trends; she is staff writer at the online office marketplace