Article: What is the biggest distraction in your office?

Life @ Work

What is the biggest distraction in your office?

We attempt to answer this elusive question, based on information from different sources.
What is the biggest distraction in your office?

Over the last few weeks, a number of surveys, reports, and articles have surfaced that try to answer the elusive, yet ever-so-important question: What is the biggest distraction at your workplace? 

Surprisingly, the responses from several different sources boil down to the same, or similar answers. We have collated a list of the most frequently-occurring distractions that are present in offices: 

Food: How many times have you felt like grabbing a slice of that orange that your co-worker is peeling? Or reaching out for that extremely pungent pickle your colleague insists on eating at the desk itself? Turns out, you are not alone. Food, specially pungent and flavoured food is a big distraction at workplaces. A UK survey revealed that two-third of the employees ate their lunch at desk, and in the process the aroma of their food distracted others. It also listed foods like fish, cheese, eggs etc. according to the British sensibilities, which was most likely to cause a distraction. It would be interesting to see, what Indian foods would make it to the list, if one was ever made.   

Technical Problems: A survey commissioned by Samsung Electronics in the UK shows that an overwhelming 92% of the surveyed workers reported computers crashing and slow internet connections as a big distraction to their work. The same survey went onto name munching loudly during lunch as the biggest distraction; in accordance with the first point.

The findings claim that due to all these issues combined, a worker is likely to waste five and a half hours during a week, or in other words, rendering 70 working days in an year unproductive. Furthermore, it also said that about 10% of the respondents actually left their job because technical issues in their office were recurring and remained unsolved. With the average internet speed in UK in double-digits, as compared to 3.5 Mbps in India, one can only imagine the extent up to which this particular disruption impacts productivity. 

Colleagues: Time and again reports have shown that colleagues are a big source of disturbance in the office, and the Samsung survey confirmed the same. It went onto claim that one-third of the workers surveyed admitted to quitting a job because of an annoying co-worker. Another independent survey by office suppliers company Viking actually went a step ahead and listed the different types of co-workers according to their level of annoyance. The list was led by ‘The Complainer’, who cannot keep their thoughts to themselves, followed by ‘The Chatterbox’, and ‘The Workaholic’. Other annoying habits of colleagues included poor personal hygiene, foul language, being late etc. A majority of respondents in this survey admitted to ignoring the problem, and getting on with their work regardless. 

The Samsung survey also showed that temperature at the office, being too hot or cold, or the seats being uncomfortable also made it to the list of considerable distractions.

A question about irritating habits of colleagues posted on the popular Q&A site Reddit a few days back elicited a lot of interesting, funny and sometimes borderline dark responses by thousands of users. The responses ranged from lunch-thieves, to employees who sulk, or talked loudly or played loud music, wore too much cologne, or employees who were hypocritical in nature. 

Do you identify any of the habits listed above?

Tell us, what is the one annoying habit your colleague has that irritates you the most? Or better yet, absolve yourself of any sins you might have committed in the list by coming clean and vowing to not repeat them.

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Topics: Life @ Work, Watercooler

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