7 Major Distractions at Work that Kill Productivity

  | 4 min read
distractions kill productivity workplace

The modern workplace has come a long way in incorporating technology in daily organizational tasks to improve efficiency. There is still, however, no plausible solution for distractions that reduce productivity in the workplace. These distractions are mostly responsible for most time-wastage in the workplace and could be the reason why you need to work overtime to complete your daily tasks. The only way out is to identify them and try as much as possible to avoid them.

Here are the 7 major distractions at work that kill productivity

  1. Social Media

    distractions kill productivity workplace - social media

This one is a big culprit. Obviously, the internet is a big temptation. What with all those notifications that keep popping up and that juicy update on a story you have been following? Salary.com in a study, reveals that a mere 20% of employee respondents said they do not visit non-work sites at work.

Solution: You can use a Google Chrome Add-On that allows users to set a limited amount of time on certain sites. When the time expires access to these sites is restricted.

2. Coworkers dropping by your desk

distractions kill prodctivity workplace

Collaboration with fellow employees is recommended in the workplace. However, this interactions should be geared in solving problems and sharing ideas and should not supercede completing tasks or hitting targets. If you encourage people to keep dropping by to “pick your brains” or share an idea, you will not accomplish anything at the end of the day.

Solution: Wearing headphones can help signal that you are busy and don’t want to be disturbed.

3. Office Gossip

This is one of the most irresistible time-wasters in the workplace. It is also one of the most damaging ones. If not checked, office gossip can result in strained relationships and negative office politics.

Solution: Just avoid all forms of gossip in the workplace. It not only saves your precious time that should be spent hitting your targets but also steers you away from uncomfortable situations with your colleagues.

4. Meetings

While they are in good faith, meetings are considered big distractions. Most of what is discussed can be raised in collaborative chatting tools that will have all stakeholders giving their input.

Solution: The key is not to completely do away with meetings, but to reduce the number of times people need to discuss the same thing over. Also, setting an agenda and sticking to it is key in making meetings productive.

5. Noisy Coworkers

distractions kill productivity workplace

People are different. There are those who can successfully complete a task in a complete chaotic environment. There are those who even the slightest noise is enough to knock their thought process off course.

Solution: There should be measures in place to ensure the workspace is conducive for all. Everyone should understand that the office is no place to be excessively loud.

6. Snack and Smoke breaks

Breaks are essential for relaxation and to keep motivation flowing. Working continuously with no breaks is actually a health risk. However, if these breaks are taking huge chunks of your valuable time, they could be distractions limiting your workflow.

Solution: Cluster break activities so you do most of them at once. For instance, you can pick your snack from the fridge after your bathroom break so you don’t need to leave your desk twice. You can also spread out your breaks so that you accomplish substantial milestones in your workflow.

7.  Workspace Arrangement

distractions kill productivity workplace

Where you sit and objects around you could be a major distraction. For instance, if you sit close to a window overlooking a busy highway or you are seated directly opposite the main door and always have to look up when there’s movement near the door, it could be a distraction.  

Solution: Raise it with your supervisor if you feel your seating location is affecting your concentration.


Doreen Mueke
Doreen is the Senior Content Marketer at Ringier One Africa Media.