50+ Surprising Workplace Distractions Statistics [2023]

Workplace distractions are silently sabotaging productivity levels, and you won’t believe the staggering statistics behind them.

Explore the key stats on employee distractions at work based on recent surveys, including the most common sources of interruptions and their impact on productivity.

Workplace distractions statistics

Key workplace distractions statistics in 2023

  • 99% of workers face frequent interruptions at work.
  • Top distractions in the workplace are coworkers, noise, smartphones, and emails, followed by multitasking and unnecessary meetings.
  • The average worker experiences 15 interruptions per hour worked, which means they are getting distracted every four minutes.
  • 40% of knowledge workers do not have a single opportunity to focus for a continuous 30-minute period during their workday.
  • People check their phones 352 times on an average day.
  • Workers spend approximately 13 hours per week managing emails, reducing their productivity.
  • One in every three meetings is considered unnecessary.
  • Open-office workers are 15% less productive than those in private offices.
  • 76% of people consider working from home more productive than at the office.
  • Constant digital distractions lower IQ twice more than cannabis.
  • A considerable 93% of employees experience frustration, at least occasionally, because of distractions during phone or video calls.

Most common workplace distractions


According to various surveys and studies, almost every employee’s work is negatively affected by office distractions. Surprisingly, mobile devices aren’t the number one culprit – people are.

  • A staggering 99% of employees experience a loss of productivity due to unexpected interruptions at work.
  • Coworker interruptions, including noise and gossip, are major distractions for 76% of employees.
  • Office noise is identified as a top distraction by 70% of employees.
  • 69% of employees admit that using cellphones at work disrupts their focus.
  • Emails are considered a distraction from important tasks by 31% of surveyed individuals.

Impact of technology distractions at work

It’s no argument that technology plays a vital role in our daily work lives. It offers many benefits that change the way we communicate, work together, and find information. However, technology also brings new issues that can harm our productivity and focus, from unmanaged cellphone interruptions to losing hours of work time to mindlessly scrolling social feeds.

The impact of technology distractions at work is a growing concern as employees struggle to balance the advantages of staying connected with the potential pitfalls of constant interruptions.

average phone use workplace distractions statistics

From never-ending email notifications to the tempting pull of social media, these digital distractions are changing the modern workplace in ways we need to notice and think about, so we can create healthy work environments that support efficiency and success.

  • The average person checks their phone 352 times a day, with a significant portion of these checks occurring during work hours.
  • 36% of millennials and Gen Z workers spend two or more hours per day on their phones for non-work activities during working hours.
  • One survey found that employees spend an average of 56 minutes per day using their cell phones for personal reasons during work hours, amounting to a loss of nearly five hours per week.
  • 43% of workers say that they turn off their phones during working hours.
  • 58% of employees report using social media or personal messaging as a primary source of distraction during work hours.
  • 20% of Gen Z employees spend at least half their day on telephone, video, or multi-party calls, compared to just 7% of Baby Boomers.
  • A smartphone is now the preferred device for shopping, online searching, gaming, and banking, for people under 55.
Tip: Use website-blocking software

If you find it difficult to resist the temptation of checking social media or other distracting websites while working, using a website blocker can be an effective solution. This software allows you to block specific websites during your work hours or limit their usage, helping you to stay focused and productive.

Statistics on colleague interruptions in the workplace

Interactions with colleagues are an essential aspect of any workplace, fostering teamwork and collaboration. However, these interactions can also be a significant source of distraction when not properly managed.

In the following section, we will explore the statistics that reveal how colleague interruptions affect productivity and identify the main reasons for coworker-related distractions.

statistics on coworker interruptions
  • 65% of employees say that noisy coworkers are their biggest distraction.
    76% of survey responders identified loud phone conversations as the biggest culprits, while 65% pointed to nearby conversations in an open space.
  • Interruptions by colleagues cost the average knowledge worker 5 hours of productive time per week. This loss of productivity can impact employee morale and result in missed deadlines and project delays.
  • It takes an average of 23 minutes for employees to refocus after an interruption from a coworker. This can result in a significant loss of time and productivity, especially for tasks that require sustained focus or deep concentration.
  • An average worker is interrupted by colleagues 4 to 12 times every hour. These frequent interruptions can disrupt the flow of work and lead to increased stress and frustration.
  • An average of three full working days per month are lost to workplace interruptions. This can have a significant impact on the bottom line of a company and reduce overall productivity and profitability.

Workplace noise and conditions distractions stats

The workplace environment plays a crucial role in employee productivity and satisfaction. Ambient noise, inadequate lighting, and other environmental factors can contribute to distractions that impede performance.

Let’s look at some statistics that highlight the prevalence and impact of workplace noise and environment-related distractions and how they are being handled by different generations.

statistics on noise distractions at work
  • 42% of employees report that loud or continuous noise in the workplace negatively impacts their ability to concentrate on tasks.
  • 68% of employees feel that poor lighting affects their productivity.
  • 52% of Gen Z employees report being most productive when working in noisy environments or engaging in conversations, while 60% of Baby Boomers prefer quiet settings for optimal productivity.
  • 52% of employees report that their workplace lacks adequate private spaces for focused work.
  • 40% of workers feel that their productivity would improve with a quieter workspace.
  • 51% of employees find it challenging to listen or be heard on calls due to distractions, while 48% report a negative impact on their ability to focus.
  • 50% of workers favor an open workplace floor plan, with younger generations preferring it more: 55% of Gen Z and 56% of Millennials, compared to 47% of Gen X and 38% of Baby Boomers.
  • About 40% of Gen Z and Millennials choose comfortable spaces, such as couches or cushioned chairs, for work, while more than 50% of Baby Boomers stick to their primary workspace.

Statistics on multitasking at work

Multitasking is often considered a valuable skill in the modern workplace. However, numerous studies have shown that multitasking can lead to a decrease in productivity, increased errors, and higher stress levels.

In this section, we will examine the statistics that shed light on the true effects of multitasking at work.

frequent task switching lowers productivity
  • 38% of employees admit to multitasking frequently, leading to a decrease in overall productivity and efficiency. Multitasking is known to be a bad practice and can lead to errors and mistakes.
  • One in three employees admits to using social media during meetings. This can be a significant distraction and can disrupt the flow of the meeting, leading to a loss of productivity.
  • Frequent task switching adds up to a 40% loss of productivity. This is because it takes time for the brain to switch between tasks and get back into a state of focus and concentration.
  • The performance cost of multitasking increases with task complexity. This means that the more complex the task, the greater the performance cost of multitasking, as the brain has to work harder to switch between different cognitive processes.
  • Heavy multitaskers mistakenly think they are more efficient. However, research has shown that serial multitaskers are actually less efficient and productive than those who focus on one task at a time.

Remote workplace distractions statistics

The shift towards remote and flexible work environments has been gaining momentum over several years now, with many employees expressing a clear preference for these arrangements over traditional office settings.

The benefits of remote work, such as reduced commute times, better work-life balance, and increased autonomy, contribute to enhanced productivity and job satisfaction.

In this section, we will explore the statistics that demonstrate the growing preference for remote and flexible work environments, highlighting the advantages of these arrangements and the positive impact they can have on employee satisfaction.

why people are more productive working from home less distractions
  • 76% of employees avoid the office when they need to complete important work, with 50% choosing their home as the most productive location for work-related projects.
  • 91 percent of respondents reported a positive experience with remote work.
  • A hybrid model results in considerably lower staff turnover (22%) when compared to completely remote work models (43%) or work-from-office models (44%).
  • Productivity at home is attributed to fewer interruptions from colleagues (76%), fewer distractions (74%), minimal office politics (71%), reduced commuting stress (68%), and a more comfortable office environment (65%).
  • Top reasons for seeking remote work: work-life balance (81%), family (56%), time savings (56%), and commute stress (48%).
  • 97% believe that the flexibility of remote work would positively impact their health and quality of life.
  • 82 percent of workers feel they would be more loyal to their employers if provided with flexible work options.

The importance of flexibility is evident from the fact that 16% of top management who have a fully remote work policy say that they would opt for a hybrid model. Similarly, among leaders who follow a work-from-office policy, 23% would prefer either a hybrid or fully remote model.

Interestingly, time savings has outranked cost savings as a factor for seeking remote work, indicating that people value their time more than money.

Impact of workplace distractions on productivity

Workplace distractions can have significant consequences for both individuals and organizations, leading to reduced productivity, increased stress, and even financial losses.

In this section, we’ll look into the recent statistics that demonstrate the magnitude of these impacts.

Impact of workplace distractions on productivity
  • 45% of employees report that frequent distractions compromise the quality of their work.
  • Globally, workplace interruptions cost companies approximately $63 billion per year.
  • 49% of employees feel overwhelmed by the constant influx of emails and consider them a significant distraction.
  • 30% of employees face lower morale as they have to pick up the slack for distracted coworkers.
  • 25% of workers report a negative impact on boss/employee relationships because of distractions.
  • 24% of employees struggle with missed deadlines as a result of workplace distractions.
  • 20% of workers claim that workplace distractions hurt their career growth.
  • 21% of organizations suffer a loss in revenue due to decreased productivity caused by distractions.

Eliminating distractions

Top benefits of reducing workplace distractions

When asked how reducing distractions may impact productivity at work, these are the common benefits employees tend to expect.

benefits of reducing distractions at work
  • Productivity growth
    By reducing workplace distractions, employees can focus more effectively on their tasks, leading to increased productivity. With fewer interruptions, more work gets done in a shorter amount of time, benefiting both the employee and the organization.
  • Employee motivation
    A distraction-free work environment allows employees to concentrate on their goals and responsibilities, fostering a sense of accomplishment and motivation. When employees can successfully complete their tasks without constant disruptions, they are more likely to feel engaged and inspired in their roles.
  • Confidence in skills and results
    Minimizing distractions enables employees to fully dedicate their attention to their work, resulting in higher-quality outcomes. This increased focus can boost employees’ confidence in their skills and the results they produce, further enhancing their overall job performance.
  • Happiness at work
    A workspace with fewer distractions contributes to a more positive and satisfying work experience. Employees who can concentrate on their tasks without constant interruptions are more likely to feel content and happy at work, leading to improved well-being and reduced stress levels.
  • Quality of work
    Reducing distractions allows employees to devote their full attention to their tasks, leading to better-quality work. When employees can produce high-quality results consistently, it not only benefits the organization’s bottom line but also enhances the employee’s professional reputation and career prospects.

What can employers do to minimize distractions?

Since there is an estimated global loss of $63 billion per year due to workplace interruptions, it might be a good idea to implement some smart distraction-reducing tactics inside your company.

According to the Udemy survey, workers have a pretty clear idea of measures that can potentially help eliminate interruptions.

how can companies minimize distractions in the workplace

Here is a list of things employers can do to minimize workplace distractions:

  • Allow for flexible and/or remote work schedules to give employees more control over their work environment and reduce potential distractions.
  • Create designated spaces for quiet work, such as private offices or quiet areas, where employees can go to focus on tasks without being interrupted by noise or other distractions.
  • Offer time management training to help employees better manage their time and stay focused on their work.
  • Set clear rules and guidelines for noise levels and interruptions in the workplace to ensure a quiet and productive work environment.
  • Organize regular “no-meeting” days or times during the day to give employees uninterrupted time to focus on their work without the distraction of meetings or other interruptions.

Statistics on distraction management in the workplace

As organizations become increasingly aware of the detrimental effects of workplace distractions, many are implementing strategies to manage and mitigate these challenges.

Here are some interesting statistics that illustrate the prevalence of various distraction management techniques, offering insights into best practices for maintaining focus and productivity in the workplace.

  1. 33% of workers utilize software tools for blocking apps and websites to minimize distractions.
  2. To reduce interruptions, 23% of employers enforce a ban on personal calls and cell phone use.
  3. To cope with distractions, 35% of Gen Z workers use headphones, while only 16% of Baby Boomers adopt the same strategy.
  4. 21% of workers use some kind of email assistant to monitor emails efficiently and stay focused.
  5. 16% of organizations intentionally limit the number of meetings to enhance productivity.


Workplace distractions can cause a lot of grief to both companies and their employees if not handled correctly.

Whether their impact is entirely negative or somewhat inevitable remains a matter of debate, but their existence in today’s work environment is an undeniable reality.

Eventually, we may find a balance, but current trends suggest that addressing and minimizing these distractions will remain a crucial focus for companies in the coming years.

Thankfully, there are smart things that both employers and employees can do and effective productivity tools available to minimize the negative impact of distractions on a day-to-day basis.


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