The biggest workplace productivity killers

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At Work, Hours Don't Always Equal Productivity

Do you waste time at work? No, of course you don't. Never! You're very productive. And do you have a smartphone? Yes, you do, but that's not relevant to your work quality. Sure, it's usually within sight while you're working, but that doesn't mean it's distracting you. As we've already established, you're no time-waster. Your phone just sits there on your desk. It doesn't keep you from doing your job.

Yeah, about that: 83% of workers have smartphones, and 82% keep it within eye contact while working, according to a new survey. About two-thirds of people with smartphones use them several times throughout the workday.

So it should come as no surprise that 55% of employers say that cellphone use is the most common cause of productivity loss.

These figures come from a Career Builder survey of 3,031 full-time workers over the age of 18, and 2,186 hiring and human resource managers (the survey didn't include self-employed or government workers.) The results have margins of error of plus or minus 1.78 and 2.1 percentage points, respectively. Error margins vary among sub-samples.

Of course, some people use their personal phones for work matters, but 65% of workers say they don't have their work email on their smartphones. While only 10% of workers with smartphones said it's decreasing their productivity, 81% said they use their phones for things unrelated to work while they're on the clock. Those two things are at odds.

The most common activity? Sending personal messages (65% of people using their smartphones for non-work things admitted to that one). Checking the weather was next common (51%), followed by reading the news (44%), playing games (24%) and shopping (24%).

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The biggest workplace productivity killers

Data Scientist 
Salary: $106,939

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Social Media Manager
Salary: $107,473

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SEO Manager
Salary: $111,038

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Web Designer
Salary: $70,580

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Content Manager
Salary: $92,583 

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Lab Assistant
Salary: $53,912

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Salary: $56,890

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Elementary School Teacher
Salary: $54,814 

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Human Resources Manager 
Salary: $94,993 

Photo credit: Getty

Civil Engineer 
Salary: $95,550

Photo credit: Getty


Distracted employees result in about 2 hours of lost productivity per day, 75% of the employers surveyed said. It's not just phone use: Many employers (41%) blamed the internet, 39% blamed gossip and 37% blamed social media. Conversations with co-workers, smoke breaks or other breaks, email and meetings were also cited as common distractions.

Lost productivity can come back to the workers who are causing it — wasting time could cost your company money (which they need to pay you), and if you're distracted enough, you might find yourself in jeopardy of losing your job. Unexpected job loss can wreak havoc on your finances (and it's one of the reasons to have emergency savings to fall back on), and then there's the need to find a new job, which is stressful and might even involve potential employers checking your credit.

While checking your phone at work might not be the best idea, checking your credit scores is. You can get your two free credit scores, updated every 30 days, from

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