Interruptions or distractions—even those lasting less than three seconds—are costing businesses a lot in lost productivity and in some cases, fatal errors. A recent study from Michigan State University found that interruptions of only 2.8 seconds doubled the likelihood that an employee would make an error.
Distractions take on many forms, from technology distractions (text messages, email alerts and phone calls) to interruptions from other co-workers and background noise. Some psychologists say it takes approximately 10 to 20 times the length of the distraction for an employee to recover and resume what he or she was doing.
While lost productivity affects the company’s bottom line, in some industries—especially those with safety-critical risks—distractions can cause work errors that put the health and safety of the worker and others at risk.
Eliminating workplace distractions or interruptions is no easy task. Consider limiting distractions by:
- Enforcing a mobile device policy limiting when employees can use devices, and scheduling adequate breaks where employees can use their phones and devices
- Training employees on the best times to ask their co-workers non-urgent, job-related questions
- Optimizing work areas to minimize the possibility of interruptions and distractions
For a mobile device policy and related materials, contact Texas Associates Insurors today.
Another example of an increased cost of risk….of course, work comp rates are effected if a workplace accident occurs due to a distraction.