Cell Phones Butcher Workplace Productivity

While technology helps workers stay connected while away from the office, in many cases it is causing them to disconnect while in the office, leading to a negative impact on productivity.

According to new CareerBuilder research, one in five employers (19%) think workers are productive less than five hours a day. The top reason—more than half of employers (55%) say workers’ mobile phones/texting are to blame.

Other productivity killers cited by employers include:

  • The Internet: 41%;
  • Gossip: 39%;
  • Social media: 37%;
  • Co-workers dropping by: 27%;
  • Smoke breaks or snack breaks: 27%;
  • Email: 26%;
  • Meetings: 24%;
  • Noisy co-workers: 20; and
  • Sitting in a cubicle: 9%.

Three in four employers (75%) say two or more hours a day are lost in productivity because employees are distracted. Forty-three percent say at least three hours a day are lost.

More than three-quarters of employers (76%) have taken at least one step to mitigate productivity killers, such as blocking certain Internet sites (32%) and banning personal calls/cell phone use (26%).

Employers were also asked to reveal the most unusual or most memorable things they have caught an employee doing when they should have been working. Some examples include:

  • Employee was working on a scrapbook;
  • Employee was decorating a cubicle with chains of paper clips;
  • Employee brought her equipment for her embroidery business from home and was making items for a craft show to sell;
  • Employee was doing doughnuts in the parking lot in the snow;
  • Employee brought in a kitten she found outside and tried to keep it quiet within a large purse;
  • Employee was working on her child’s school project that included uncooked macaroni noodles;
  • Employee was lying on a patient’s bed talking to the patient while the patient sat in her wheelchair;
  • Employee was watching YouTube videos of people shoving marshmallows in their mouth;
  • Employee was doing some personal grooming in the break room; and
  • Employee was searching on Craigslist for dates.
The survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder among 2,186 hiring and human resource managers and 3,031 workers ages 18 and older (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) between February 10 and March 17, 2016.