Why You’re Distracted at Work

Cheryl Lock

work distraction When’s the last time you lost your train of thought in a meeting, or stopped paying attention when having a conversation with your boss? If you’re like 70% of the population, it was probably fairly recently.

That’s because according to new Gallup research, 70% of American workers report being “actively disengaged” or “checked out” of their work.

On the flip side, 30% of workers said they were “engaged, involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to the workplace,” which was the highest level of excitement the study has seen since it started in 2000.

Source of Distractions

While there are a lot of factors that can weigh into an employee’s interest in their workload (not the least of which might be the fact that many companies don’t make their workers feel valued, as Roy Cohen, career counselor and author of “The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide” suggested to Fox Business), there’s another theory to consider—financial distraction.

According to a survey by the McGraw Hill Federal Credit Union, 36% of respondents admitted that they spend at least two hours a day worrying about their finances or dealing with them, while another study called “Stressed at Work” found that almost half of workers get so stressed out about their finances that it actually interferes with their jobs.

RELATED: Are You Happy at Your Office?

Both the Gallup research and “Stressed at Work” suggest similar solutions—companies should be offering employees wellness programs to help them manage their stress, as well other stress-relieving options like gyms and healthy snacks, to say nothing of better financial options, like a good retirement plan.

  • a_s_a

    Or maybe it’s because people are just bored.

  • Alice

    I would agree with companies undervaluing their employees. I was recently informed by my employer that I would no longer be working for them past August. There’s a possibility of retaining me by contract at that time, but there’s nothing definite. In the meantime, they’ve asked me to create all sorts of programs and content that it to be implemented starting in September. I have to say it’s extremely difficult to concentrate (or even get excited) about these tasks because I’m worried about finding other work, financial scenarios if I don’t.

    • Allie

      @7f8dd8bb5a758250579a2bade1bcd587:disqus if they are most likely letting you go at the end of August (it’s a little unclear – sounds like they said they would be letting you go but then you also mention a possibility of contract retention), you should probably focus most of your time and energy on getting a new job! Companies are never as loyal to you as you may be to them. If you spend all your time focusing on creating these programs and content (that, to add insult to injury, you won’t even still be at the company to see implemented!!), you will end up unemployed and with no job prospects on September 1. If it was me, I would half-ass the work they’re asking you to do and spend work hours networking and job-hunting from your desk.

  • http://www.GiveMe10.info/ Laura at Give Me 10

    It seems to me that a big source of stress at work is knowing all the other non-work things on your plate that need to get done but not having the time to do them — things like, as you mention, finances, as well as daily to-do’s ranging from filling out forms for kids’ sports, arranging to have the hot water heater fixed, and making weekend plans. We squeeze these in guiltily during the workday because there’s little other time to do it. I wonder if a sanctioned 30-60 minutes of “personal” time would acknowledge employees’ needs and show respect to them, and mitigate the stress of “sneaking” it in. An argument against it is that we need our workers working during the hours we’re paying them, but the fact is, they’re taking the time anyway now. This may relieve stress and result in greater productivity.