Distractions cost businesses billions: study

Interruptions steal up to two hours of each work day

Interruptions take up to one quarter of the work day, resulting in hundreds of billions of dollars a year in lost productivity, according to a new study of 1,000 office workers.

According to the study, completed by the U.S. information technology research firm Basex, distractions steal up to 2.1 hours from the work day.

Researchers estimated a salary of $21 per hour and found the lost time costs the American economy about $558 billion annually.

The lost time included unimportant interruptions or distractions and the time it took to get back on task.

Another study by University of California at Irvine researchers Gloria Mark and Victor Gonzalez found that office workers would devote about 11 minutes to a task before being distracted. The most common distractions included:

•co-worker visits
•leaving one's desk
•receiving an e-mail
•commencing a new task on the computer and
•receiving a phone call

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