Friday, December 15, 2006
Electronic Interruptions Costing Companies Money
Instant messaging (or IM) has become so quick and easy that everyone is sending them to everyone else, besieging the workplace with their messages like a horde of locusts. But IM represents just another assault launched on workplace mental concentration, joining emails, cellphone calls and the ever accursed pager. According to Reuters, white collar workers are interrupted by incoming messages of all sorts as frequently as 11 times an hour, costing corporations up to $588 billion in lost man hours every year. Managers are typically interrupted about six times an hour, and cubicle workers are interrupted 70 times daily. An average of five minutes must elapse after the interruption before the worker can return his or her attention to the job. This results in about 2.8 hours lost per day to office distractions.
Constant interruptions not only cost time - they also impede performance. According to a recent psychological study, even subjects high on marijuana did better on IQ tests than those submitted to a constant barrage of emails and phone calls. Something might be said for a work environment in which one's focus can be "recollected in tranquility". There are certainly advantages to coming in at, say, 6:30 in the morning - or working from home when your spouse is at work and the kids in school. Up the early risers, and up the telecommuters, too!
"IT Digital Distractions Costs Business 588B USD" from Daily Tech