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Think your office is distracting? It could be worse

Kittens appear on NBC News' 'Today' show.Photograph by Getty Images

It’s well known that distractions wreak havoc on productivity. Now comes a study from CareerBuilder revealing exactly what makes it so hard to concentrate at work, including smartphones, chatty colleagues, and never-ending social media feeds.

Asked to name the biggest productivity killers at their companies, 2,175 managers said pretty much what you would expect: Cell phones (52%), the Internet (44%), gossip (37%), and email (31%).

Then there are the, um, more surprising things that bosses have found someone doing instead of actually working, including:

  • Taking a sponge bath in the restroom sink
  • Searching online for a mail-order bride
  • Hiding in a bathroom stall to play a video game on a smartphone
  • Sabotaging another employee’s car tires
  • Trying to hypnotize other employees to help them quit smoking
  • Writing negative posts about the company on social media
  • Sleeping on the CEO’s couch
  • Searching Google images for “cute kittens”
  • Building a model airplane
  • Visiting a tanning booth instead of making deliveries
  • Flying drones around the office
  • Printing pictures of animals, naming them after coworkers, and hanging them on the walls around the work area

Then there was our personal favorite: “Drinking vodka while watching Netflix.”

What if you’re one of those people (you know who you are) who just can’t resist a little unauthorized R&R now and then? It might help, says CareerBuilder human resources chief Rosemary Haefner, to “schedule ‘play breaks.’ Give yourself permission to take a break, and set a definite ending time. Not only will you have something to look forward to, but you’ll also know when it’s time to get back to work.”