Being the owner of an “Ooh! Look! It’s something shiny!” type of brain pattern, I feel absolutely qualified to discuss a new survey about how social media distractions are costing companies big time dollars. As someone who primarily works alone, there are Facebook and Twitter temptations that threaten to derail my whole operation on a daily basis if I indulge for too long. According to harmon.ie, the software company that conducted the study, I’m not alone — folks who routinely get distracted by social media during their workday reportedly flush $10,375 in productivity down the drain each year. In big companies with more than 1,000 employees, digital distractions can waste a whopping $10 million each year. So as social media marketers, the question is this: Are our efforts for our clients causing distraction?
Clearly, anything we contribute to the social media landscape has the potential to make someone stop and spend too much time staring at it, commenting on it or passing it on. This is, after all, what we want to some degree. Still, the statistics seem to indicate the big digital distractions don’t come directly from social media at all. Surprisingly, the biggest distraction on the list is email. Yes, 23 percent of those surveyed say email routinely derails their work efforts. Only 9 percent admitted that falling into a Facebook hole or getting swallowed by a Twitter tornado was the cause of their at-work distraction. I would have thought the number for social media should be a lot higher but email is a less obvious way to pretend like you’re working compared to leaving comments on Facebook. Smartphones were also surprisingly absent from the list of work momentum killers.
Mainly, surveys like this shine a spotlight on how the temptations to digitally blow off our work have just gotten easier to find and easier to accomplish. So it’s confession time, dear readers. Which social media site do you indulge in during your work day? And do you have boundaries set for yourself when it comes to digital distractions at work? And freelancers, how do you manage digital distractions without a big boss looking over your shoulder? Leave us something shiny in the comments section below!