Is Technology Hurting Your Productivity? Try These Quick Fixes

A new study finds that technology is hampering our work. Here’s how your boss feels about it, and what you can do to reverse the trend.

Is your phone zapping your productivity at work? The boss may think so.

Cellphones and texting lead the list of the biggest productivity killers for employees, according to a CareerBuilder survey of employers released today.

A survey of 2,175 hiring and human resource managers found that they believed the following to be the biggest enemies of productivity:

  1. Cellphones/texting: 52 percent
  2. Internet: 44 percent
  3. Gossip: 37 percent
  4. Social media: 36 percent
  5. Email: 31 percent
  6. Co-workers dropping by: 27 percent
  7. Meetings: 26 percent
  8. Smoke breaks/snack breaks: 27 percent
  9. Noisy co-workers: 17 percent
  10. Sitting in a cubicle: 10 percent

A large majority of employers — 74 percent — said they have tried to counteract these workplace distractions with methods such as blocking certain Internet sites (33 percent) and banning personal calls or cellphone use (23 percent).

The managers cited the following consequences of such distractions:

  • Compromised quality of work: 45 percent
  • Lower morale because other workers have to pick up the slack: 30 percent
  • Negative impact on boss/employee relationship: 25 percent
  • Missed deadlines: 24 percent
  • Loss in revenue: 21 percent

CareerBuilder’s chief human resources officer, Rosemary Haefner, said in a statement that the solution can be as easy as taking a break, however:

“Taking breaks from work throughout the day can actually be good for productivity, enabling the mind to take a break from the job at hand and re-energize you. The trick is finding the right (work-appropriate) activities that promote — rather than deplete — energy.”

To help avoid productivity killers:

  1. Schedule “play” breaks. This gives you something you can look forward to. However, make sure to set a specific end time so you will know when to get back to work.
  2. Use social media to keep yourself on track. If you browse Facebook during a break, for example, post your project goal or deadline while you’re there. “Making yourself publicly accountable will make you more likely to actually do something,” CareerBuilder reports.
  3. Take a 10- or 20-minute walk. Research shows light exercise can rejuvenate the brain, helping it perform better.

Adults are not the only people at risk of technological overstimulation.

A study by the Centre for Economic Performance in London recently found that banning cellphones in school boosted student achievement as much as if the students had spent an additional hour in school each week, Time magazine reported.

What’s your biggest distraction at work? Share a comment below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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