Two-thirds of workers distracted by emails, Internet, social media: Survey

One-third losing up to 1 hour of lost productivity per day

Two-thirds (65 per cent) of Canadian workers have been distracted from doing work on their computers by checking emails, browsing the web and engaging with social media. And 59 per cent admitted the reduction in productivity caused them dissatisfaction and unhappiness, according to a survey of 2,500 people released by Webtrate, a productivity software company.

Fifty-three per cent of respondents thought that checking their emails and social media while trying to get work finished revealed a worrying lack of impulse control.

Three-fifths (59 per cent) said they lost their chain of thought because they checked and responded to an email or social media alert while they were working on a report or longer piece of written work. One-third (34 per cent) said checking emails and social media cost them more than one hour per day in productivity.

While 49 per cent said they spent more time checking social media, emails and browsing the web while working from home, they also said working in the office didn’t stop them from being distracted by the Internet.

One-half (53 per cent) of respondents agreed there was a correlation between a reduction in their happiness and satisfaction levels when they realized they had been less productive because they had checked emails, social media or browsed the web.

Of those who said they were being distracted, more than 66 per cent said they believe they would get more done if they could disconnect from the Internet for a period of time each day.

“The Internet plays into our worst habits. Despite its many benefits, it is helping to fuel procrastination and lower levels of productivity by giving us access to an immediate menu of instant distractions,” said Will Little, who designed and created Webtrate.

“It seems we are increasingly looking to satiate our desire for new information by constantly checking social media, emails and the web. This thrill of finding out something new is so powerful that it can get in the way of pressing and important work. The evidence suggests that people would rather read an interesting article or banter with a friend over email or social media than finish their work.”

What’s needed is a way to separate work from the distraction of the Internet, said Little, citing Internet blocking and productivity applications.

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