New Report Released on the Impact of Workplace Distractions

Slack Scheduler > Blog > New Report Released on the Impact of Workplace Distractions

Every now and then, a piece of research, or great workplace anecdote comes up that illustrates so perfectly how little changes can have a huge impact on our mental health and how we work. 

This week, I came across the article "Workplace interruptions lead to physical stress" on the Reddit science sub, where it has an astounding 2.3 thousand comments in just the first 18 hours.

In the research experiment, participants were divided into three groups, all with the same workload. 

    1. Group one was a control group
    2. Group two were stopped only to have a saliva sample taken 
    3. Group three were stopped in the form of chat messages from their superiors urgently requesting information.

I can't relate to saliva samples at work, but I am sure we can all relate to distracting Slack messages and pings throughout the day. 

Interestingly, while most of these type of surveys focus on the loss in productivity or satisfaction, this experiment focused on the physiological aspect of workplace distractions.

So what were the results?

“...participants in the second stress group released almost twice the level of cortisol as those in the first stress group.”
And what does that mean? (This was the interesting part to me)
Well initially - participants who were distracted actually reported being in a better mood! They found the challenge they were presented with less threatening (though equally challenging). 
So while mentally we can initially feel ok - physically our bodies are reacting to these distractions through the release of chemicals. 
We can be absorbing this stress without even realising it!


Hence why it is so important to consider those small adjustments in your workplace. Thinking about how you can send a Slack message later when you know your coworker will be available, instead of at 5pm when you know they are heading home. 

Written by: Josh

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