A recent survey conducted by Mopria Alliance shows employees experience 77 distractions per week. Phil shares how employees are affected by work environments.
Today’s post is by Phil Mazzilli, Marketing Working Group Chair for Mopria Alliance.
After COVID-19 pushed employees out of their offices and into their homes, we’ve gained a new wealth of knowledge on the benefits and pitfalls of working from home versus in an office. As a leader in the printing industry, the pandemic got me thinking about how this new work-from-home environment was affecting how employees interact with their workspaces. What equipment would companies need to supply their employees with? Would we see any shifts in employee behavior? And perhaps most importantly, how would a work-from-home model affect productivity?
With this, the Mopria Alliance got to work and conducted a survey offering insight on distractions that employees face on a daily basis depending on their work environments. Our survey found that all employees, regardless of environment, are bombarded with distractions, and these distractions are have a major impact on their mental health. While many companies are still making decisions about how their employees will return to the workplace, or not, we’ve gathered insights on what may increase or decrease an employee’s productivity. Let’s take a closer look.
Overall, the survey results show that employees experience an average of 77 distractions per week or roughly one distraction every 31 minutes. This seems alarmingly high when we think about what work needs to be done on a weekly basis and how much time is spent being unproductive. What may be unsurprising to most of us is that the top distractions that both work-from-home and in-office employees face are personal communications such as text or chat, checking personal email or surfing the web, and unplanned conversations. Although we can’t always mitigate these distractions, we can control the environment they exist in and how we support employees in overcoming these distractions.
We also learned that for most workers, these distractions negatively impact work and productivity and increase stress, regardless of whether they are working from home or at their office. The population most affected and thus the most challenged by these workplace distractions are working parents living with children at home. Mopria’s survey found that working parents face a distraction every 25 minutes during their workday, which is 37% more than their non-parental peers. Specifically, parents that work from home face about 10% more distractions than in-office parents and nearly 50% more distractions than non-parents who are working from home. We also found that almost half of all parents are consciously working additional hours to compensate for the need to handle more personal and family matters during working hours, which can lead to an erosion of work-life balance. This leads to parents feeling less connected and more isolated, less confident about their work, and creates more burnout among peers.
In some cases, even work itself can be considered a distraction. Meetings are a work-related source of distraction that can create stress and challenges for employees, regardless of their location. They also have the ability to generate further distractions. The survey found that, on average, employees spend 11.1 hours in meetings per week, but nearly half of all meetings are deemed unproductive to an employee’s core tasks. By role, top managers, team managers and IT departments have more meetings and a higher percentage of their meetings are productive. In fact, senior leadership has over two times as many weekly meetings as their support staff. People with fewer meetings tended to have a higher percentage of unproductive meetings.
Although we cannot always mitigate all distractions, it is important to realize the potential benefits and downfalls that working environments create for employees. Workplace distractions and working environment can cause toxic challenges for all employees. Our workplace distractions survey found that 78% of workers believe that the ability to easily print and scan helps them to overcome distractions, and 80% of parents would be more productive with printed activities to entertain or educate their kids. This suggests that access to print and scan solutions could help mitigate the effect of toxic distractions and perhaps even help them focus better. Employers can consider technologies such as Mopria’s Print and Scan apps to arm their employees with the tools they need to combat distractions.
With the amount of time and energy being spent working extra hours to make up for distractions, these are important considerations in creating a healthy culture and a healthy business. Given our findings, it is clear that employers should consider who their employees are and their role in the company, what distractions exist in their specific working environments, and what solutions they can provide to employees to overcome distractions either at home or in the office.
Phil Mazzilli serves as the Marketing Working Group Chair for the Mopria Alliance overseeing Alliance marketing efforts as the user base of Mopria technology has grown from a few users to hundreds of millions of users worldwide. He is also a Staff Product Manager in the Printers & Imaging group at Qualcomm, Inc., with over 20 years of experience in embedded software quality assurance, engineering, marketing and product management. In Philip’s current position with Qualcomm, he manages several key software and hardware products targeted at the printer and enterprise software markets. Phil enjoys the outdoors, spending time away from work camping, hiking, geocaching, and scouting with his family.
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