How Workplace Distractions Can Cause Employee Burnout

How Workplace Distractions Can Cause Employee Burnout

Distraction can be found pretty much anywhere, and even more so at one’s workplace. According to statistics, around 98% of the workforce say they are interrupted at least three or four times a day. Additionally, workplace distraction doesn’t only occur in a traditional office setting but also in those who work remotely. About 67% have reported feeling distracted from remote working.

Here’s how workplace distractions can cause employee burnout.

Workplace Distractions and Employee Burnout

How do workplace distractions produce employee burnout? 

Distractions in general steal our attention from our main priority, place this in a workplace setting and you’ll have employees who are unable to complete tasks in time or produce high-quality outputs. They will feel less productive which can also affect the company’s overall culture.

Employees feel less productive

When employees get distracted, obviously their attention is redirected to whatever it is that’s distracting them. This can lead to them feeling less productive and discouraged because they haven’t been able to accomplish a task completely which can affect one’s motivation. A lack of productivity can lead to burnout because the employee isn’t performing up to their usual standards.

Workplace distractions can affect company culture

It’s important to discuss workplace distractions with fellow employees and managers because leaving them as is without any resolution can lead to tension between colleagues. If an employee’s work satisfaction then it can affect their relationship with their co-workers and ultimately create a domino effect that can also impact the overall company culture in a not-so-good way.

Common Workplace Distractions

Here are a few common workplace distractions that every employee has faced at least once throughout their work history. Getting distracted is normal, but if it happens so often to the point that one’s productivity level decreases, then it’s time to look out for the signs and eliminate the distraction so that it doesn't get severe.

Use of mobile phones

A survey revealed that the average employee in the US wastes 2 and a half hours every workday on their smartphone. Additionally, the use of mobile phones has made them distracted from work and placed them at a higher risk of experiencing workplace-related accidents. 

Furthermore, another survey has shown that 58% of the respondents shared that they use their own devices at work to visit sites that are restricted by their company. It’s clear that spending too much time on one’s cell phone can lead to major distractions that prohibit them from doing their task properly.


Let’s face it, engaging in gossip is sometimes fun because you get to hear some juicy details but it’s easy to accidentally spend more than 20 minutes chatting about some hot goss, completely forgetting that time exists. It’s a bigger distraction than you think. Not only does it lead to unproductivity since you get no work done when you gossip, but this also affects your relationship with your coworkers–whether that gossip is about you or them.

Social media

It’s no secret that employees would mindlessly scroll on their social media accounts while at work. Social media can be just as distracting because you are constantly looking for new information online that’s easily digestible, such as pictures from your favorite artist, or a post about that new tech equipment you’re interested in. These simple and easy scrolls through your feed can actually eat up a lot of time during work hours.

Loud co-workers

Nothing is more annoying than constantly hearing colleagues talk loudly while trying to do some work. The noise pollution can be distracting and the employee has two ways to respond: either they join the conversation or it can tick them off, both resulting in hindering them from having a productive work period.

Office clutter

Whether you’re working in a traditional workplace or working remotely, when there’s clutter present where you’re doing most of your work, it can tend to be distracting. A messy work desk can affect the employee’s focus, restraining their ability to process information, which can be anxiety-inducing especially if there’s a tight deadline that they need to meet.

Final Thoughts

It’s normal to get distracted every now and then, but what’s important is being able to manage these distractions so that there aren’t any delays in output submissions as well as the quality of the work is not severely affected. 

By pinpointing out the different workplace distractions, companies should be able to form strategies in order to improve their employees’ productivity levels and ultimately save them from experiencing burnout.


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