Offices are meant to be places of productivity and efficiency, places for you to simply do your work and grow as a professional. This productivity, however, depends on the office environment. Studies have shown that most workers spend four hours per day procrastinating, using 60% or less of available work time actually working. Many employees are constantly bombarded by office distractions such as emails, text messages, social media notifications, or loud coworkers.

A UC Irvine study found that the average office workers are interrupted every 11 minutes, and it takes an average of 25 minutes to refocus on the original task. To compensate for this, most people speed up their work to try to gain back lost time. This same study called The Cost of Interrupted Work: More Speed and Stress, found that this increases stress and frustration while also doubling an employee’s error rate.

Office distractions lower our productivity and energy, limiting our ability to focus on projects and tasks long enough to complete them. Here at iSpace Office Interiors, we know how important it is to have an office space that encourages productivity, creativity, and efficiency. That’s why we have compiled a list of the five most common office distractions to eliminate from your office. Let’s get started!

Coffee Breaks

Coffee breaks are a staple of offices everywhere. Most employees suggest that coffee breaks help to build connections among colleagues while offering a welcome break from the drudgery of the workday. However, an average worker spends 24 minutes a day making tea or coffee.

Around 24% of employees believe that coffee breaks are one of their largest distractions throughout the workday. While coffee breaks can offer an easy way to take a break and stretch your legs, it’s also an easy way to waste time. To boost productivity during the workday, be mindful of how many coffee breaks you’re taking and how long you’re spending on each one.

Background Noise

If you stop and really take a moment to listen to all the noise in your office, you may notice distractions you hadn’t consciously picked up on before – people are talking, phones are ringing, machines are whirring, music is playing. Unfortunately, in most offices background noise is inevitable and can cause serious distractions during the workday.

Research from the University of Sydney showed that 30% of workers in cubicles complained of difficulty focusing due to noise in the office. A 2011 review of more than 100 studies by organizational psychologist Matthew Davis showed that partitionless, open office layouts hurt attention spans, creativity, and productivity. For those struggling to focus due to background noise, we suggest investing in noise-canceling headphones or using apps like Noisli that can drown out distracting noise.


Research has proven time and time again that a messy workplace affects your ability to focus and process information. A disorderly desk is a constant reminder of everything that needs to be done, distracting you from the task at hand and increasing stress and anxiety. Our brains are wired to react to our surroundings, which means that a cluttered workspace will create a cluttered mind.

To increase productivity and efficiency in the office, we suggest optimizing your desk for minimal office distractions by keeping it clean and organized. Remove all the clutter you can by throwing away what can be thrown away and putting everything else where it belongs. Make sure your desktop space is only occupied by objects that are important to the task at hand.


A 2017 study showed that a staggering 269 billion emails were sent daily worldwide, with the average office worker receiving 88 emails a day. Most employees start their workday by checking emails; throughout the day, there is constant temptation to stop the work you’re doing and check your inbox the minute it pings with a new message.

One poll showed that 40% of people surveyed checked their email between 6 and 20 times per day. Checking and responding to emails can create a false feeling of busyness and productivity that often results in unfinished projects at the end of the workday. This is because responding to emails is reactive, pulling us in multiple directions, preventing us from focusing on the task at hand.

The easiest way to resolve this distraction is to turn off your email notifications and only check your emails on a very specific schedule. If there’s an emergency, people will call or knock on your door. Your emails can wait.

Social Media and Smartphones

Social media and smartphones are destroying our ability to focus; Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat – the list of apps and websites that may distract us throughout the workday is nearly endless. There is a constant stream of information available on our phones coming from innumerable sources, interrupting workflow and focus.

According to a study from Deloitte, the average person checks their smartphone 47 times a day. Across an 8-hour workday, this comes out to checking your phone six times every hour, pulling our attention away from our current project. While smartphones and social media has enabled us to be more connected than ever before, freed us to work on the go, and eliminated the prospect of getting lost, they also come with steep downsides for our productivity and efficiency in the office.

Overcoming your reliance on your smartphone can seem daunting, but it’s not impossible. We suggest putting your phone on airplane mode or employing the “do not disturb” function. You can also try leaving it in another room or keeping it somewhere out of sight.

Whether you’re looking for the perfect desk chair, furnishing an entire office building, or in need of a custom design solution, iSpace Office Interiors offers the best office furniture in the Indianapolis area. For more ideas about how to optimize productivity and efficiency in your office, visit our website.

Photo Credit: Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels