Distractions in the Digital Workplace

Bill talks about the distractions of the digital workplace, drawing on recent research by Harmon.ie:

In the following result summaries the bullets are in the words of the study. Here are some of the work related findings:
– Two out of three users will interrupt a group meeting to communicate with someone else digitally, either by answering email (48%), answering a mobile phone (35%), chatting via IM (28%), updating their status on a social network (12%) or tweeting (9%)
– Relatively few workers disconnect to focus on a task (32%) or during virtual meetings or teleconferences (30%), webcasts (26%) or lunch (12%).
– A majority of workers turn off their devices only when their boss asks them to (85%) or during one-on-one meetings (63%).

Most of the distractions are digital.
– Users reported getting sidetracked in email processing (23%), switching windows to complete tasks (10%), personal online activities such as: Facebook (9%), instant messaging (6%), text messaging (5%) and Web search (3%).
– Multiple devices on the desktop contribute to the problem, with 65% of respondents reporting that they utilize up to three additional monitors and/or mobile devices simultaneously with their main computer screen as they work.

My Comments
1. It always amazes me that people will answer the phone when they’re in a meeting and then immediately say “I can’t talk now; I’m in a meeting.” Wouldn’t it be better to just let the phone go to voice mail? Or is the person playing a gamble that if the caller is better than the meeting they’re stuck in, they’ll shift out of the meeting?

2. During my most recent User Adoption Strategies Workshop I demonstrated Twitter. The first or second question was, “How do you reconcile Twitter with the need to concentrate on your work. Won’t this bring in a whole lot of new interruptions?”

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