Five Things Employees Get Distracted With at the Office

Distractions are a normal part of work in a busy office. These distractions range from irritating noises to social interactions with other employees. The following describes five common distractions that many employees must deal with daily.

1. Noise in the Office

All busy offices are home to many different noises, including the constant ringing of the telephone and the mechanical hum of the fax machine. Individuals who are not used to working in a noisy office may find this ruckus maddening. Over time, many workers simply get used to the noise and are able to teach themselves to stay focused. Some offices try to ease the problem by playing music to drown out the other more obnoxious noises. Truly desperate employees can always don a pair of earplugs or headphones.

2. Gossip and Drama

Many employees engage in frequent casual conversations with fellow coworkers while drinking coffee in the break room. Usually, these conversations are casual and include light topics such as the latest movie or sports event. However, some employees are prone to gossiping about their colleagues. This gossip and its effects bear a striking similarity to high school gossip. Employees can get so caught up in office drama that they become distracted and are unable to work effectively. If this gossip spreads around the office, it can lead to plenty of bad feelings and drama. 

In severe cases, gossip can get so bad that it leads to a war of words between employees. In those cases, workers may find themselves face to face with a supervisor. 

3. Connecting to Personal Life

Today, with the rise in cellphones and other Internet-ready devices, workers are staying more connected to their families throughout the day. One employee may receive a text message from his son who is asking for help on a homework question. Another worker may receive a sudden phone call from her elderly mother. People are also more connected to friends and family through various online social media networks. Users can use these networks to constantly check on their loved ones. Employees can easily deal with this distraction by keeping their phones off or disabling Internet access.

4. The Internet

Before the Internet became a common office tool, many office workers wasted time by playing Solitaire on their computers. Today, the Internet provides an overwhelming number of ways for employees to get and stay distracted. Internet users can find thousands of free games to play, cat videos to watch, and weblogs to read. Other individuals spend time emailing their friends and family. Some offices deal with the problem by removing or limiting employee access to the Internet. However, businesses that depend on the Internet to thrive may not have that choice available.

5. Poor Organization

Many workers do not take the time to organize their personal workspace. These employees lose precious time when searching for a misplaced paper or pen. A messy desk can distract workers from staying focused on their work. Sometimes, the office itself may a source of chaos. If employers don't take the time to designate areas for office supplies, files, and papers, the entire office can become a big distraction for everyone. An organized office will not distract employees and can even lead to an increase in worker productivity.


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