Worst than e-mails

It’s a common complaint.

E-mails — hundreds of them — eat up our time at work every day, reducing productivity.

But according to a recent Wall Street Journal story, nearly 30 percent more work is lost by disruptions from co-workers than by e-mails or phone calls.

And once interrupted, it takes on average 25 minutes to get back to the task and another 15 minutes to reach the same level of concentration, the journal reported, basing the story on several studies.

Some research has found a link between frequent disruptions and exhaustion, stress headaches and other physical ailments, and more mistakes.

So why are co-workers interrupting each other so much?

Office design.

Open plan offices are “in” these days, including lower cubicle walls and offices without doors which encourage co-workers to interact, the journal said.

The story offered some ways to keep those co-workers at bay: wear headphones, create “do not disturb” signals or stretch yellow tape around the cubicle…  like police do with crime scenes.