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Think your office is distracting? It could be worse

KittenKitten
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.”