Work-related distractions refer to sound and visual noise in particular. Work can be disrupted by, for example, speech noise, noises and sound alerts, as well as people moving about in the environment and visual pop-up notifications of information systems.

Tips for controlling distractions

Distractions are common in today’s work and are inherently linked to carrying out work tasks and reaching work-related goals: we need reminders and alerts in our work as well as speech and movement in workspaces. These factors become problems and distractions when they do not concern our own work, or when they are so numerous and frequent that they interfere with work that is in progress. Does your workplace have a lot of sounds and noise in the workspaces? Is it difficult to concentrate on tasks? Does working together disturb others? Are the distractions managed? Do workspaces and their use need improving?

Why should distractions be reduced?

It is important to implement good methods and reduce distractions, as studies show that distractions make work more difficult and increase cognitive strain. Speech noise impairs performance, especially in tasks that require linguistic functions such as reading, writing and discussing. Moving objects and visual noise, in turn, make it especially difficult to perform visual and spatial tasks, such as planning and remembering the location and order of things. Sound alerts and movement at the side of one’s field of vision, in turn, distract attention from your work.

Download a room chart of methods for managing distractions: