The 5 worst desktop distractions

By Eleanor O'Neill, CA Today

20 April 2017

Accountants are the professionals most likely to be distracted by internet browsing during work hours, according to research by

In a survey of over 2,500 jobseekers for the recruitment website, non-work-related browsing habits were identified as the most common 'desktop distraction' for workers, with more accountants admitting to the practice than any other profession.

Whether accountants are really more likely to engage in these behaviours than other professions, or they are more likely to be honest and transparent about their activities is an important consideration, however.

Checking personal messages and email, spending time on social media and reading news articles or magazines were also highlighted as major distractions in the UK. 

The research revealed that the average worker takes 33 minutes of 'me-time' outside of lunch and tea breaks during the workday.

The five most common 'desktop distractions'

1. Browsing the internet

2. Checking phone

3. Reading out-of-work material

4. Checking social media

5. Replying to messages and WhatsApps

Women are apparently more cautious about checking social apps like Snapchat in the office, with only 37% of those surveyed willing to log in at work. On the other hand, it was reported to be the biggest distraction for men with 63% of respondents ranking it as an issue.

New employees will actively avoid such behaviour for an average of six weeks in order to make a good impression. However, 23% of accountancy staff said they succumb to 'me-time' tasks after less than a month. 

Psychiatrist Dr Ned Hallowell has also found that intelligent people are the most likely to be distracted at work, so those extra brain cells can have a slight down-side for workplaces!

All of this adds up to an estimated cost of £2,149 per worker for employers every year.

Lynn Cahillane, Communications Manager of, said: “We all have life tasks we need to complete around our jobs and most managers understand this. What’s more, British workers typically put in over 70 hours of overtime a year, helping us to make up for the time we’re not focused on the job.

"But being organised and avoiding distractions - especially the social ones - not only increases productivity and prospects, it also results in more job satisfaction.”



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