What’s making you the most distracted at work?


If you look above, it’s not social media — which I bet most employers (as opposed to employees) would say. It’s actually water/coffee and bathroom breaks, which makes some sense: the former (hopefully not the latter) are ways to socialize with co-workers, and socialization/having friends at work is pretty important.

Here’s a couple of things I would add:

While we’re on this boss topic, check out this graphic from the same article above:


As you can see here, it’s actually upper management — the big dogs — who slack off and do these things more.

All this research was done by some group called BambooHR, and because much of HR currently seems to think their job is to protect senior management (I was actually once told that by an HR person in a job I had), we have to get this rationalization paragraph about the research:

This may be due in part to the increase in responsibilities for upper level management. The heavier the workload, the more necessary it becomes to take solace in a quiet bathroom stall. But the pressure to perform has caused the work-life balance to shift. The BambooHR survey found more than half (56%) of employees say they try to make up for time spent on personal, non-work-related activities by working at home or in the office after standard work hours.

Might be time to get off the cross, because some other communities could use the wood.

If you want to know why senior leaders slack off more, here’s the simple answer:

  • They can, and no one will call them on it.

If you think it’s because they’re so slammed and have to work at home, well, sure — maybe that’s true sometimes. In reality, that’s just Temple of Busy bullshit; it allows managers to use “I have such a high quantity of work!” as a replacement for “I’m good and productive at my job!” We love the quantity over quality argument, which interestingly contributes to how poorly most of us spend our time.

This is all standard ‘Let’s deify the executives and their slaying-dragons workloads!’ garbage. In reality, here’s the deal:



Ted Bauer


  1. This seems to be yet another piece of evidence that makes the case for having private offices for every employee. Combine that with the flexibility to accomplish tasks without being micromanaged, and it’s a recipe for increased and sustainable productivity and happiness among employees. This would cascade to an increased bottom line and most likely result in happier customers/clients as well.

    Too bad this silly idea of “open” offices has taken hold because it costs less upfront, yet ironically costs more in the long term due to increased sickness, distraction, attrition, productivity loss, etc.

  2. I understand the “stick it to the man” mentality, but let’s face it. No matter how much upper level management can “slack off”, the position they hold with the company is crucial or they wouldn’t be in that position. Hopefully they made it to that position because they proved that they have good self-disciplinary skills. Working in CTO, CMO and CEO positions, I understand that my actions and decisions ultimately lead to the success, or the downfall of my company. If it only takes me 5 of 6 hours to complete my “life giving/supporting” tasks for the company for the day, and if I “know” that I have completed the work needing completion, then by all rights, I can goof off – but the term “slacking” means “neglecting”, and as an upper level management member, that’s not acceptable (every bit as much as for any employee, if not more). Though keep in mind, upper level management rarely gets to “work less” or completes all work early. On the contrary, we are usually the ones working 12 plus hour days as the lower-level employees clock out at 5pm sharp.

    • I’d agree with some of this — probably most of it — but some of my attitudes are related to the execs I’ve been around. There’s another thing to remember, too: oftentimes execs like to talk about how much they’re working, but because of communication gaps (proprietary, potentially), the rank-and-files don’t understand what half of it means, so they see a smattering of people chasing perks — and that confuses them. I agree that everyone, to an extent, works hard. (Well, most people.) But sometimes there’s not context behind how hard X or Y-person is working.

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