April 13, 2016

Let’s Talk About:

Workplace Interruptions

As remote work increases, workers are more dispersed than ever before — single project teams might work across different time zones and schedules, and in some cases, might not even have a centralized office to work from. Yet even with this increased distance, it seems like workers are more interrupted than ever. Now that instant notifications, Slack rooms, and phone alerts are the norm for conducting business, one worker has more ability than ever to interrupt another.

Workplace interruptions are tough to address for a number of reasons. Interrupters see their intrusions as harmless, tools make it easier to thoughtlessly ping others, and avoided interruptions can be seen as antisocial (or hostile). Despite the difficulty, your workplace should take interruptions seriously, and have a strategy for dealing with them. Why? They cost a lot more than you might think.

Sabotaged by Interruptions

Community Thoughts on Workplace Interruptions...

  1. 1. The high cost of interruptions In fact, unnecessary interruptions consume about 28 percent of the knowledge worker’s day, which translates to 28 billion lost hours to companies in the United States alone.
  2. 2. Meet the Life Hackers Each employee spent only 11 minutes on any given project before being interrupted and whisked off to do something else...And each time a worker was distracted from a task, it would take, on average, 25 minutes to return to that task.
  3. 3. Programmer Interrupted A programmer takes between 10-15 minutes to start editing code after resuming work from an interruption...A programmer is likely to get just one uninterrupted 2-hour session in a day.
  4. 4. Where do These People Get Their (Unoriginal) Ideas? If you take a 1 minute interruption by a coworker asking you a question, and this knocks out your concentration enough that it takes you half an hour to get productive again, your overall productivity is in serious trouble.
  5. 5. Why developers hate being interrupted They will never know how they affect our productivity unless we tell them. They spend all day doing their job and aren’t going to find out via telepathy that what they are doing is having a negative influence on how we do ours.

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