The Hidden Costs of Interruptions At Work

The Hidden Costs of Interruptions At Work

People honestly don’t realize how costly and insidious interruptions are, and they don’t know how to curtail interruptions in a professional way. Interruptions cost the U.S. economy $588 billion a year. If you’re tolerating the interruption culture at your company, you are jeopardizing your profits. When employees are asked to formally calculate the time they lose to interruptions, they routinely come up with 40%-60% of their most productive time; that’s about 3-5 hours every day.

And interruptions are brutal on employee morale, because they cause frustration, and the loss of energy, momentum, and enthusiasm. Interruptions often contribute to errors, creating quality problems and re-work. And above all there is distress—irritability, worry, and the added pressure of having less time to do what they’ve been trying to get done. Managers and employees need to learn these five skills: Calculate the time they lose to interruptions; Time Lock for an Interruption-Free Period; Focal Lock to keep on track; Allocate the “Surplus” Time wisely; Batch Process jobs that are similar.

The interruption culture is not inevitable, and it is not harmless. If you can eradicate it at your company, you can improve your company’s competitiveness and the job and life satisfaction of your employees.

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Edward G. Brown is an expert in corporate culture and behavior change. His sales and leadership programs has assisted Fortune 500 companies around the world.


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