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Distractions and boredom in the workplace

The average worker was distracted every 35 minutes at work, according to research

Office workers are unproductive an average of 21 million working days a month, which could be costing UK businesses around £3 billion a year, according to research from manufacturer Fellowes Brands.

The survey of 1,000 office workers found that 50% of people were unproductive for up to an hour every day, with the average worker distracted every 35 minutes. This adds up to 21 million working days, or £3 billion per year.

When it came to solutions, four in 10 (40%) respondents thought they could cut down on distractions by working from home.

Separate research from Robert Half has found that managers recognise that their employees are spending nearly 14% of their week bored at work.

Managers highlighted the reasons they think employees are most likely to be bored during the course of the week, with 35% suggesting that work was not interesting enough, 32% that staff do not feel challenged, and 30% concerned that there is a lack of diversity on offer within the role.

Inefficient internal processes could also be to blame. One in three (30%) said that there are too many meetings, which are poorly executed.

Phil Sheridan, senior managing director at Robert Half UK, warned of the dangers of boredom. “With the current skills shortage managers need to focus efforts on keeping the role interesting to boost employee engagement and ultimately support higher retention,” he said. “To ensure employees perform to the best of their ability and remain interested in their jobs, employers need to introduce greater variety by giving workers the opportunity to develop new skills or take on additional responsibilities.

“It’s important to remember that employees who are more interested in their jobs are likely to make a greater contribution to the organisation and contribute to long-term success.”

Fellowes Brands UK sales and marketing director Darryl Brunt said employers only need to make small changes to see a benefit. “It’s clear that the workplace has a huge effect on our productivity and our report shows a real need for businesses to take heed,” he said.