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Old 18th August 2010, 09:20 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Heard the latest? Chatty co-workers are most distracting

Heard the latest? Chatty co-workers are most distracting

Poll says chatty colleagues are biggest distraction at work, rather than surfing social-networking websites.

By Sia Ling Xin
Wed, Aug 18, 2010
my paper


FOR Ms Suki Ng, the biggest distraction she faces at work is her talkative colleagues.

The 27-year-old civil servant said: "What annoys me the most at work are inconsiderate colleagues who laugh and chatter away and speak to each other over the top of their cubicles."

Ms Ng is among many Singapore residents who are unhinged by co-workers' loud chat.

A month-long global online poll conducted in July by international recruitment specialists Robert Walters found that chatty colleagues pose the biggest distraction at work, far worse than smoke breaks or surfing social-networking websites.

Almost half (48 per cent) of the 1,090 mid- to senior-level professionals across various industries in Singapore rated talkative co-workers as the most time-consuming distraction.

Globally, 47 per cent of 6,050 professionals from 18 countries such as New Zealand and Ireland also concurred that talkative colleagues were the biggest distraction.

Significantly, more people here and in the world find their effusive colleagues distracting - 8 percentage points more than the figures in a survey three years ago.

That survey polled 1,000 respondents, of which 100 were from Singapore.

Ms Ng said she tries to tune out her colleagues' conversations by wearing earphones, but she finds that listening to music compromises her productivity as she "concentrates too much on the lyrics".

"I don't need a work environment to be utterly silent, but it would be nice if people could be mindful of others and lower their voices since the office is an enclosed space," she said.

As for IT analyst Kenneth Chung, 28, he finds the Internet to be the most serious diversion because "there is just so much to look at online".

"No matter how talkative people are, they stop talking at some point. But the Internet is there right in front of you every single minute," he said.

In fact, the World Wide Web is the second-largest distraction for both residents here and elsewhere.

About 35 per cent of people polled here and 40 per cent in the world said they were distracted by personal e-mail, Internet browsing and social-networking sites.

Mr Hermann Ditzig, managing director of leadership-development firm Lead Consulting Group, told my paper that he is not surprised by the results of the survey.

He said that the results reflect the personality of the individual respondents. For example, "introverts might find loud noises and colleagues' chatter a bigger distraction than extroverts would", he added.

He also extrapolated that as the survey was done online, a larger number of introverts might have taken part in it, as they tend to be the group which uses computers more.

This could account for why talkative colleagues stand out as the No. 1 distraction, he deduced. However, Ms Andrea Ross, managing director of Robert Walters Singapore, said that "informal conversations can fuel productivity" but the problem comes when people engage in chit-chats "out of politeness".

"Of course, the odd chat...can provide a welcome break and spark new ideas but there is a balance that needs to be struck," she added.

Source: http://business.asiaone.com/Business...18-232618.html

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Old 20th August 2010, 08:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Heard the latest? Chatty co-workers are most distracting

Yes, very irritating indeed.

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