The Real Cost of Interruptions at Work

May 12, 2016
The Real Cost of Interruptions at Work

Do you know that feeling when you finally get your teeth into an all-important deadline, only to be stopped dead in your tracks by an all-too-familiar tap on the shoulder? Interruptions are an annoying constant in our lives, and you know it. But what you might not know is just how expensive they can be. In fact, according to these time management figures published by, many of us spend more than half of our working day being interrupted!

The average person gets interrupted once every 8 minutes. That’s around 7 times an hour, or a staggering 50-60 average interruptions per day!

The average interruption takes 5 minutes to deal with. That means we only get 3 minutes of productivity out of every 8 minutes we work – or in other words, we’re spending around 4 hours of each working day being interrupted.

80% of interruptions are unimportant. In other words, if we were to somehow cut out all of the interruptions that didn’t really matter – you know, like when somebody shows you that cute kitten video on YouTube – then you’d be saving precisely 3 hours and 12 minutes per day in lost productivity.

These figures become even more relevant if you’re running a business or managing a team of people. Think about it for a moment: 3 hours and 12 minutes per person, per day. Try multiplying that number by the number of people you employ, and the number of days they work. The result isn’t very pretty.

How to Reduce Interruptions at Work

If you’re desperate to help your staff avoid interruptions and increase their focus, then you need to read the article we wrote about 5 ways to avoid office distractions.

Is reading this short article going to change your life? Not massively. Is it going to save you 3 hours and 12 minutes in lost productivity per person per day? Highly unlikely. Is it going to help you and your staff learn how to deal with distractions and focus on your work a bit better? Absolutely.

Aside from the five tips in the article we mentioned above, how do you avoid interruptions at work?


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