How was your evening? Did you see “Big Little Lies”? Questions like these might sound familiar, as the average office worker endures 21 bouts of awkward colleague small talk per week, according to new research.
A study examining the intricacies of workplace communication found the average office worker also has 17 meetings, gatherings with colleagues and conferences with clients each week.
And to power through it all, they’ll consume 19 coffees or other beverages from Monday to Friday.
A study, conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with GoTo by LogMeIn, examined the working habits and behaviors of 2,000 employed people in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, India and Australia — and it discovered that in a typical day, the average office worker will look at 10 non-work related sites.
From four small talk interactions, four coffees and three meetings, employed workers have busy days.
And it appears that work isn’t always at the forefront of the average office worker’s mind. In fact, the office workers studied will visit a non-work-related website more than 50 times per week and be on their phone for non-work reasons a further 56 times.
That sees workers take more than 100 non-working mini-breaks throughout the week.
The research progressed to examine the tools and efficiencies of their current work-setup. The average worker juggles five different work programs a day and uses a further four collaboration tools. At any one time they will have six different tabs open on their computer.
Results showed that more than half (56 percent) felt their workplace had ineffective or lacking communication policies.
And as many as 64 percent say they waste time switching between all the tools they need to use to do their job.
Other barriers to productive office communication and productivity proved to be phones — with over half (55 percent) revealing phones to be the leading cause of their work distractions.
A further 46 percent cited their inability to focus on the job on loud conversations while another 44 percent said their personal emails were to blame for their lack of productivity.
News alerts (35 percent) and noisy construction near the office (32 percent) also made it into the top five office distractions.
When it comes to office communication, 64 percent of those studied revealed they waste time switching between different tools and programs they need to use daily.
As a result, 56 percent admit that their communication among colleagues is ineffective and could use some help.
“These days workers are inundated with a vast number of tools that are supposed to make work easier. However, without the right technology the number of tools can quickly become overwhelming,” said Mark Strassman, SVP and General Manager, Unified Communications and Collaboration at LogMeIn.
The many barriers and inefficiencies might be why over a third (38 percent) have suffered an embarrassing workplace miscommunication.
The most common miscommunication blunder in the workplace was found to be sending an email to the wrong person.
Other notable work-related miscommunications included making a spelling mistake (46 percent), having a grammar mistake (39 percent) or not speaking up in a meeting (34 percent).
In fact, one respondent had accidentally sent a text message sent for her boyfriend to her assistant manager, while another mistakenly sent personal information to a co-worker.
Strassman continued, “Businesses need to set their employees up for success by giving them easy to use, reliable collaboration tools that help rather than hinder. Ultimately the tools need to facilitate great collaboration by simply getting out of the way so employees can work how, where and when they want.”
TOP 5 OFFICE DISTRACTIONS
- Phone 55%
- Loud conversations 46%
- Personal email 44%
- News alerts 35%
- Noisy construction around me 32%
TOP 5 NON-WORK RELATED TASKS PEOPLE DO AT THE OFFICE
- Check social media 57%
- Text 50%
- Have a conversation with a colleague about personal life 48%
- Keep both my personal and work emails open 46%
- Take a longer lunch break 39%
TOP 5 WORK-RELATED MISCOMMUNICATIONS
- Sending an email to the wrong person 55%
- Making a spelling mistake 46%
- Having a grammar mistake 39%
- Not speaking up in a meeting 36%
- Sending an email or chat before I’m ready 31%
IN A WEEK, AVERAGE OFFICE WORKER WILL EXPERIENCE:
- 4.23 bouts of small talk per day x 5= 21.15 bouts of small talk per week
- 3.72 cups of coffee a day x 5= 18.6 cups of coffee/drinks a week
- 3.41 meetings a day x 5= 17.05 meetings a week
- 5.17 email refreshers a day x 5= 25.85 email refreshes a week
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