Culture & Competency

Distractions in the Digital Workplace

Bill talks about the distractions of the digital workplace, drawing on recent research by

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?”

Categories: Culture & Competency