The Water Cooler Is A Bigger Distraction Than Social Media?

Via Payscale’s blog:

Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook are often blamed for drops in office productivity, but according to this infographic, bosses would be better off focusing on more pressing workplace time-wasters. Take water cooler talk, which 14 percent of workers cited as their No. 1 distraction in the office during an Amplitude Research survey, or meetings and computer glitches, which tied for second with 11 percent of respondents apiece.

Water cooler chat often gets cited during HR conferences as one of the main culture builders inside an organization. And between intranet sites, collaboration platforms, Yammer, internal chat… even company-approved social media is time-wasting.

When people really want to buckle down and get to work on something, do they have the tools, resources and ability to do it? Are these distractions true distractions in a productive sense or are they simply excuses to lean on when running behind?

I could be distracted by the internet all day. But if the only thing you’re judged on is what you’re pushing out, it’s going to be hard to do that too often without consequences.


  1. Water coolers, social media, the internet, email… like the Force, they have a light side and a dark side.

    Yea, someone *could* waste hours hanging out the water cooler. They could also waste that time on Facebook, or reading a magazine, or chatting in a neighbors cube, or spending hours in pointless meetings.

    But those tools can all be used for good, too. Sometimes just to recharge the batteries. Other times to actually have meaningful, valuable conversation.

    HR spends a lot of time looking at what people waste time on, and not enough time looking at *why* people are wasting time in the first place.

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