The 10 Biggest Killers of Productivity at Work

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- While most Americans put in an average 40 hour work week, the truth is that many of us aren't using our time efficiently.

Productivity in the first quarter of 2014 fell at a 3.2% annual rate, the number of hours worked climbed 2.2% and still output declined, according to data from The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Harris Poll surveyed over 5,000 hiring managers and full time private sector workers in various industries, in conjunction with CareerBuilder to explore the biggest productivity killers at work.

Here are their findings:

#10  Conference Calls On Speakerphone

workers on speakerphone
Speakerphone calls can be distracting to those around you unless you book a private conference room.  

Even in a conference room, there always seems to be someone late dialing in or on the call who can't hear, or worse-- someone who isn't muted, and you can hear everything that's going on at their end.

#9  Visitors To Your Desk

coworkers in office
Co-workers dropping by to chat about their weekend can break your concentration and eat up time, especially if you sit in a highly visible area of the office.

If you really need to get a project done, block off a conference room to finish it in private, or come in earlier or stay later when there are fewer distractions in the office. 

#8  A Flooded Inbox

email inbox
Save time by picking up the phone or walking over to your colleague's desk, rather than spending 20 minutes crafting an email to the person sitting in the next cubicle.

Reading each incoming message can be a distraction, so try reading them at intervals instead of opening each one as they come in. 

#7  Unnecessary Meetings 

meetings in the office
Don't set aside an hour to meet about an issue or initiative that can be addressed with a quick phone call.  

Consider politely declining a meeting invitation and following up with the organizer later.

#6  Noisy Coworkers

noisy coworkers in office
Most office workers are reasonable enough to not expect silence throughout the workday, but excessive or repetitive noise gets annoying very quickly.

Talking too loudly on the phone, popping gum, and noisy tics such as throat-clearing, can be pretty distracting, so have consideration for those sitting around you.

#5  Breaks To Smoke or Have Snacks

smoke break at work
If you average two 15 minute smoke breaks a day, that amounts to two and a half hours per week of lost work.

It costs employers an estimated $5,816 annually per smoker when factoring in healthcare costs and productivity, according to a study published in 2013 in the journal, Tobacco Control.

Snack breaks and short walks to the vending machine on a daily basis can also be just as time-consuming.

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#4  Social Media 

selfie at work
More than six in 10 employees spend an hour or more of work time each week visiting social media sites such as Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest, according to a recent study by Bolt Insurance.

That breaks down to a financial drain of $130 billion from employees not performing work-related tasks at work, and it could be much higher, the agency said.

#3  The Internet

internet in the office
How many times have you been pulled over to a coworker's desk to "check out this video on YouTube?"

To prevent so-called "cyberslacking," more companies are blocking certain websites to keep you focused.

#2  Gossip 

gossip n office
It can be difficult to know when innocent water cooler chatter crosses the line and becomes something far more serious, like defamation of character.

The most effective way to deal with the situation is to firmly, but politely, tell your chatty co-worked that you don't want to hear gossip since it could lead to a trip to the human resources department.

#1  Cell Phone Calls and Texting 

cellphone while at work
Many professionals rely on smartphones to stay connected to the world, but in the workplace you need to mind your mobile manners.

If you have your cell phone at your desk at all times, make sure the ringer is off.

Must ReadThe 10 Drunkest States in America ...and... The 10 Dumbest States in America

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