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Anorak | Time & Motion

Time & Motion

by | 13th, January 2006

‘CIGARETTE smokers puffing away in the freezing cold are to be envied.

Sure, smoking increases the risk of them contracting a range of nasty diseases, and that’s if the hypothermia doesn’t get them first. But they do get so much time off work.

If a cigarette takes, say, five minutes to smoke, and June in accounts nips out to smoke ten fags a day, that’s fifty minutes of break time. Non-smokers sat at their desks are being short changed.

That’s hard luck on them. But the good news is that the modern way of doing business means non-smokers can now skive off just as much as the puffers.

A study into American working behaviour at the University of California has found that office staff work for an average of only 11 minutes before they are interrupted by an email, a phone call or a colleague.

The researchers calculated that these interruptions occupy a worker for a whopping 2.1 hours of a day.

It was found that workers take 25 minutes to return to their original tasks after an interruption, and some never do. That tap on the shoulder from Clive in marketing might mean you losing your train of thought for good.

And it’s costing firms money. The researchers estimate that interruptions cost the US economy £300billion a year.

And the frequent breaks damage a worker’s sanity. Psychiatrist Edward Hallowell, speaking in Time magazine, says people are increasingly unable to focus for any length of time.

He’s seen a massive rise in the number of his patients with work-induced attention–deficit disorder.

“They complained that they were irritable,” says he. “Their productivity was declining and they couldn’t get organised.”

Meanwhile, the smokers are outside – enjoying their stress-busting “me” time…’



Posted: 13th, January 2006 | In: Reviews Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink