New data released by Virgin Pulse finds 95% of employees report being distracted during the workday. The survey, Driven By Distractions: Why Employees’ Focus Is Waning At Work & What You Can Do About It, features responses from 1,000 participants (not Virgin Pulse members). It also revealed that healthy habits, like getting the proper amount of sleep, eating a balanced diet, and exercising regularly, help employees stay focused better than old-fashioned methods like written to-do lists.
The good news for employers: investing in employees’ well-being can help rein in those distractions, which survey findings show ranged from technology disruptions to overly social coworkers, and can help to improve employees’ attention so they can be more focused and productive.
“Every day, employees are grappling with attention-stealing stress, job pressures, and all of life’s priorities, so in order to create a high-performing, productive workforce, it’s more important than ever for employers to support their employees’ well-being and help them to improve their ability to focus,” says Chris Boyce, CEO of Virgin Pulse, in a release. “Our survey’s findings are eye-opening and highlight how health and well-being is key to creating a focused, productive workforce. Supporting all aspects of employees’ health and well-being is a great place for companies to start and will help their people feel their best so they can home in on their most important tasks.”
How Prevalent Is Distraction?
With a laundry list of obligations and an equal amount of disruptions, employees find it difficult to maintain focus on the job.
- 52% of respondents say they’re distracted 1-20% of the time during a workday
- 43% say they’re distracted 21-75+% of the time
- Only 5% say they’re never distracted
Technology, Chatty Colleagues, Stress Cause Distraction
If it is not their work, what’s got employees’ attention? For more than half of respondents (54%), it’s their fellow coworkers looking to chat and socialize. Nearly 45% also cited that their inability to home in on what’s important at work stems from technology distractions like e-mail and text messages; 22% said personal stress like worries over relationships, family, or money inhibits their ability to focus at work.
Catching Zzzs (and Healthy Habits) Are Best at Helping Employees Focus
While productivity and focus “hacks” abound, there’s a whole host of options available to employees to help them keep the distractions at bay–but maintaining healthy habits trumps them all. Seventy percent of respondents say their health habits have a noticeable impact on their ability to focus at work:
- 68% say proper sleep is the number one way to maintain focus at work
- 43% say taking a midday walk or getting some exercise helps them get and stay focused at work
Ways Employers Can Help
Whether employees are totally tuned in or completely unfocused, employers are perfectly poised to help improve their attention—and employees would welcome the support. In fact, 87% of respondents indicated they would be interested in free tools or programs to help them improve their efficiency and focus if their workplace offered them. Unfortunately, 59% said their company didn’t offer these types of programs.
Employers can help employees by offering tools and resources that support all aspects of employees’ well-being so they can manage their stress, make healthy habits a higher priority, and feel their best at work and in life.