Survey Finds 68% of Workers Distracted by Internet on the Job

Now in its second year, the annual Internet productivity survey of 5000 people in the U.S. reveals 55 percent of Americans prefer to communicate with their friends over the Internet and 68 percent say they have been distracted from completing work by checking emails, browsing the Web, and engaging with social media – an increase of 9 percent from one year ago.

Among respondents, 7 percent even said they took a smartphone or tablet into the toilet to stream a TV program they just had to see.

The independent benchmarking survey was released by website blocker and productivity application Stop Procrastinating, based in London and Berkeley, Calif.

The survey found that people were more likely to spend time communicating with friends on the Internet than a year ago, either through social media, such as Facebook, or via an instant messenger, such as What’s App. 55 percent of respondents said they contacted friends via social media or instant messengers as their primary way to communicate, an increase of 5 percent compared with a year ago.

However, American’s were more likely to use social media and the Internet to communicate with friends or set up social events at work than at home. 62 percent of those using social media and the Internet in this way said they regularly used it to communicate at work, admitting that they had become distracted from work by it. This again was an increase from last year of 4 percent

Of the 68 percent of people who said they had been distracted at work, 39 percent said it cost them an hour a day browsing the Internet at work to read an interesting article, book a holiday or a culture event, or visit amusing Internet video websites. This was an increase of 5 percent from last year. Some 7 percent of respondents admitted to taking a smart phone or tablet into the toilet to stream a TV program they couldn’t wait to watch, suggesting a worrying lack of impulse control.

More than 40 percent of parents in the survey were also were likely to be worried about their children’s use of the Internet than last year, claiming that they didn’t know for sure what there children were doing on the Internet. This was an increase in 8 percent from last year’s survey.

Other findings from the survey included 59 percent of respondents admitted that the reduction in productivity caused them dissatisfaction and unhappiness.

The survey also found that 55 percent of people thought that checking their emails and social media while trying to get work finished revealed a worrying lack of impulse control.
64 percent said they lost their chain of thought because they checked and responded to an email or social media alert while they were working on a report or longer piece of written work.

Will Little, who designed and created Stop Procrastinating, says: “As usage of the Internet increases so does its presence in every part of our lives at work and at home. We now no longer distinguish between when we should book a holiday, contact a friend or do some personal research. The Internet is there all the time and we use it for personal reasons at work more often than ever before,” he said.

“It seems that being able to communicate with friends quickly over social media is a positive development, but engaging on social forums to debate issues, as some people in our survey admitted, suggests that some people are becoming more distracted by the Internet at work than they should. While the immediate sense of gratification might be high, over time our survey shows this leads to a lack of satisfaction as productivity levels drop and people begin to achieve less,’ he said.

Source: Press release from