Just think. If you were able to monetize being interrupted in the workplace, you’d be freaking rich… right? Now, why is that? Well, you – like millions of people in every workplace.. are interrupted so much, that well.. just the thought of being able to monetize it makes you smile.
However, if we’re able to joke about being able to add a value to “being interrupted,” then the obvious reality illuminates itself; meaning that there is an Absolute Cost to Interruptions in the Workplace.
Keep reading.. It’s going to be interesting when I reference Bull Riding and Tesla.
The amount of studies conducted, in order to show the impact of frequent interruptions in the workplace were done, way BEFORE something called “Social Media” existed. Back when Yahoo! was profitable, and Tesla was just a referenced inventor, and back when IT Companies; just fixed computers. Everything changed, when consumers got access to one thing, the World Wide Web. To show you how things have changed:
In the year 2000, the average attention span of a professional worker was 12 seconds.
In the year 2013, the average attention span of a professional worker was 8 seconds.
Now, to give you something to contrast that to:
A Professional Rodeo Bull Rider, to do his job right, must ride an angry bull for a minimum of 8 seconds.
Makes you think, right?
So when you think about the diversities of the modern workplace in today’s professional office, you’d have to think that the figure of 8 seconds, seems a little ‘much’ when you think of attention span. With that logic, by the year 2026, the average attention span of a professional worker will just be “4” seconds.
That alone, should be enough to call your IT Guy and tell him to “lock down the firewall, now!”
But, the cost in the here and now, is much more tangible as we don’t have to hyperbolize very much to see how the true impact of being interrupted in the workplace, takes its toll on the quality of work and the underlying pride in the work being done.
So, let’s talk about studies done by REALLY smart people.
In a University of California Irvine study, it was found that people spend an average of 11 minutes on a project, before they’re interrupted. Subsequently, it then takes the same people an average of 25 minutes to get back to the point that they were, before the distraction occurred.
In the same University of California Irvine study, it was discovered that employees in public seating or cubes, are interrupted 30% more than people in private offices.
It was further identified, that an individual without interruptions, has a margin of error rate at 9%. Meaning that, on a task to task basis – human error is rate calculable in about 9% of the work produced. Once these people were interrupted, their human margin of error escalated from 9% to 15%.
In short, if you interrupt a person at 11:10am – and speak to them for 10 minutes, ending at 11:21am. On average, the person will be unable to form a clear, cogent thought equivalent to their previous mindset and focus, until approximately 11:46am.
That’s nearly 35 minutes of lost time, and progress in an individual – per interruption.
Freaks you out right? Well, I’m not done yet.. keep reading.
Take these figures, and look around your office.
Personality assessments and human data, allow us to know which people will openly speak up about being interrupted, as mostly the extroverts do. The High Dominants, and High Influencers, always have no problem speaking up and telling people, “Hey.. let’s table this..” or “You know, I don’t have the bandwidth for this right now.”
Introverts, are the group of people who are.. well.. they’re essentially plotting their next moves, working on your service tickets, and serving your strategic needs – quietly. They’re the stable, methodical, architects of your business empire. They quite literally, create with their minds, factor the good and the bad, all with as few words as possible.
Statistically, nearly 40% of an IT Services Company or Managed Service Company is made up of “introverted” employees, who complete tasks like:
• Technical Support Engineers
• Service Operations Management
• Marketing Content Writers
• Graphic Designers
• Projects Engineers
• Help Desk Support Technicians
• Accounts Payable
• Software Code Programmers
And you have to know, that none of the positions listed above – are roles that can be done “half-way.” People in these roles, have to be in their roles, 100%. They have to give their best effort, to the job and tasks in front of them, at any given time. Introverts, always connect the mental with the physical – and need the physical environment to enable their 100% mental state towards the job.
Invariably, Extroverts are those who are more prepared to accept interruptions in the workplace. However, this isn’t a writ of permission to allow unfettered access to do so. Instead, take this as a lesson in understanding the needs of others. Get to know your workplace, and then, and only then- will you be truly aware of what human capacity is and what your business empire is truly capable of.