Still the survey provides interesting data that tell a tale of differences in distractions and their management. Let’s sample a few from harmon.ie’s press release to Yahoo! Finance and elsewhere:
Users reported getting sidetracked in email processing (23%), switching windows to complete tasks (10%), personal online activities such as Facebook (9%), instant messaging (6%), text messaging (5%) and Web search (3%).
Two out of three users will interrupt a group meeting to communicate with someone else digitally, either by answering email (48%), answering a mobile phone (35%), chatting via IM (28%), updating their status on a social network (12%) or tweeting (9%).
The user’s email inbox is the #1 location searched, with 76% of respondents reporting email as the first place they look. Other locations include the desktop (69%), file server (52%), shared workspace (34%), portable storage device (18%) and/or cloud storage (9%).
The average user emails two or more documents per day to an average of five people for review, increasing email-based document volume by up to 50 documents per week. The fact that these attachments are stored on multiple local computers complicates the challenge of finding the latest document versions as well as merging feedback from multiple reviewers.
Individual users are more aggressive than even their employers in taking control of their own time and managing distractions:
68% of respondents reported that their employers have implemented policies or technologies to minimize distractions, while 73% of end users have adopted self-imposed techniques to help maintain focus.
It’s not too hard to see where the problems are. Email and worse the misuse of email for document sharing are by far the biggest waste of time and effort.
I am aware that harmon.ie does have a commercial interest in these results. They say of their company: “The harmon.ie product family brings enterprise collaboration to every business user by transforming the email client into a collaboration and social workspace, called ‘social email’.”
Fast Company features a good summary of the results — but keep in mind that the author, David Lavenda, is an executive with harmon.ie. David clearly discloses his relationship to harmon.ie in the course of the article. +1