U.S. Worker Interruptions Cost $588 billion Each Year: Study

U.S. office workers get interrupted on the job as often as 11 times an hour, costing as much as $588 billion to U.S. business each year, according to research, reports Reuters. A typical manager is interrupted 6 times an hour, one recent study showed.

Another study found the average cubicle worker is interrupted more than 70 times a day. Still another study found a group of workers interrupted by e-mail and telephones scored lower on an IQ test than a test group that had smoked marijuana.

Who and what to blame for office distractions......?

  • checking e-mails 
  • instant messaging and alerts
  • surfing the Internet 
  • online shopping at work
  • planning the office holiday party
  • telephone 
  • interruptions by others

"With instant messaging on your desktop and alerts and e-mail notifications, you set yourself up for it," said John Putzier, founder of FirStep Inc. business strategists in Prospect, Pennsylvania.

"We have more things pulling at us," said Jonathan Spira, chief executive of Basex, a business consulting firm that researched the cost of interruptions.

A study by Basex found office distractions take up 2.1 hours of the average day (28%) with workers taking an average of 5 minutes to recover from each interruption and return to their original tasks. Basex calculated the cost of interruptions in lost working hours to U.S. business is $588 billion a year. 

"It's a lot of time and productivity wasted," said Bary Sherman, head of the Institute for Business Technology, California, that has developed a White Collar Productivity Index.

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