By Jami Gibson

If I had to guess what employees said was the biggest workplace distraction, I’d place my bet on chatty colleagues. While that is a common diversion in an office setting, compiled a list of the top 6 office distractions, and surprisingly, most of them have nothing to do with coworkers. Let’s take a look at these top distractions and how to deal with them.


Loud coworkers, machines (printers, faxes, copiers, telephones, etc), and other noise producers (high heels on a wood floor, outside traffic) can hinder workplace performance by increasing stress and decreasing motivation. If this sounds like your office, try wearing headphones to listen to instrumental music or white noise. If possible, choose a work station with a door located away from office appliances.

Room Temperature
According to a study by Cornell University, room temperature directly affects productivity, with typing output increasing and errors decreasing with a rise in temperature from 68 degrees Fahrenheit (F). However, performance starts to decline with temperatures over 75.2 degrees F. If you experience discomfort with the thermostat settings, bring a mini desk fan to cool down or a space heater to warm yourself. Dressing in layers also helps you regulate your comfort level.

Tech Interruptions
Social media, email, web-surfing…these create distractions that quickly pass the time. Set aside short blocks of time during the workday to sporadically check work communications. Use your lunch break to catch up on personal correspondence.

Unplanned Conversation
While this does include your talkative co-worker, it also takes into consideration impromptu meetings, walk-in clients, and unexpected phone calls, all of which can consume large amounts of time when you least anticipate it. Your time is valuable…it’s okay to say ‘no’ and schedule a more appropriate time that works with your timetable.

Workstation Design

Is your workspace designed for health and comfort? Steelcase found that individuals who received ergonomics training and used adjustable chairs had an average increase in productivity of 17.8 percent! If possible, invest in a chair that can adjust to your body, or use cushioning to find that perfect fit. Raise or lower your computer monitor. Place a small towel under your wrists. Make small changes to increase your comfort and productivity.

Work Space
Wall color, lighting, and ceiling height all can affect workplace performance. If you feel stifled in your current work environment, try using a conference room or temporary office space or work remotely to get your creative juices flowing.

These distractions may seem trivial, but when it comes to productivity, it becomes important to know how they can affect your workplace. Do you agree that these are the top diversions around your office?

Source: Rist, M. The Top 6 Office Distractions, <>