TECH
12/30/2014 03:43 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Only 7 Percent Of Americans Admit That Technology Distracts From Work

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You're probably reading this at work. When you're supposed to be doing your job. Don't worry, you're not alone.

Pew just conducted a big survey about technology in the workplace. The research firm asked 1,066 adult Internet users across the U.S. about how they use email, the Internet, landline phones, cell phones and social networking sites at work.

Obviously, people use a lot of tech while they work, some more than others: Sixty-one percent of Americans surveyed said that email is "very important" to their job, and 54 percent said the same thing about the Internet.

The most shocking statistic from the survey, though, is that only seven percent of respondents said they felt their productivity has dropped because of email, the Internet and cell phones. And 46 percent said they feel more productive because of those things. How believable is this?

Pew pointed out that technology connects co-workers who would never otherwise be able to communicate because they're so far away. For people working in science and technology, the Internet is the lifeblood of their day-to-day work. Many workers told Pew that technology gave them more flexibility to work from home or wherever.

And sure, sending thoughts via email is less time-consuming than pecking at a typewriter and sending those thoughts via personal messenger.

But how much of the time you spend checking your email is actually productive? Odds are, your eyes are constantly darting over to your inbox as you try to complete the simplest task at work. You're addicted. We all are.

Many successful people, including Tumblr founder David Karp, make a point of not checking email too early in the morning, as it can be so distracting. It's too hard to dig yourself out of the email hole and get to work.

Other surveys have been less sanguine about the effects of technology on productivity. For example, in a CareerBuilder survey last summer of more than 2,000 hiring managers and human-resources professionals and more than 3,000 full-time workers, 50 percent of employers called cell phones "primary productivity stoppers in the workplace." Thirty-nine percent said that about the Internet, 38 percent said it about social media, and 23 percent said it about email.

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