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MENA – Workers increasingly distracted at work

05 December 2013

More than half of respondents in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region find distractions at work to be a big problem, according to the ‘Distractions at Work in the MENA’ poll conducted by Bayt.com.

Social media sites are seen to be the worst offenders for distracting people’s attention away from work. However, eight out of 10 respondents believe that they are efficient at their job, despite the distractions.

Nearly six-out-of-ten (59.3%) MENA respondents think that being distracted from work is a ‘big problem’, and for 24.7% the main culprit is social media. Other activities rank high on the list of top distractions, namely:

  • Colleagues and the chance to socialise (18.3%)
  • News websites (10.2%), with a third (31.2%) stating that their efficiency at work is adversely affected by news coming from neighbouring countries
  • Work-related matters that are not linked to current tasks are also considered to be big distractions (10%)
  • Email (8%)
  • Instant messaging (4.3%)
  • YouTube (2.7%)

When asked about how their employers might remedy the situation and minimise disruptions, respondents said:

  • Establish a more professional work environment (30.2%)
  • A better work/life balance (23.3%)
  • Having more challenging work to do (21.4%)
  • Allow staff to take short breaks from work once a day (37.3%)
  • Allow staff to take short breaks from work twice a day (22.4%)
  • Allow staff to take a break every 2–3 hours (18.7%)

Tiredness does not seem to be a big issue for most MENA employees, with almost seven out of 10 (67.1%) responding they rarely or never feel sleepy at work. On the other hand, news and events coming from neighbouring MENA countries seems to be a cause of anxiety to 12.7% of respondents, with 31.2% saying that their work productivity has been affected by “checking the news all day”.

Despite all of the distractions, 83.5% of respondents consider themselves to be efficient at work. Almost half (45.2%) plan their tasks a week in advance, with four in 10 (38.8%) planning them every morning. More than eight in 10 polled professionals (85%) said that they have set long-term goals to guide them, which is a good practice.

Suhail Masri, VP of Sales, Bayt.com, commented: “It is interesting that a fifth of respondents would like more challenging work to be less distracted, and that a further quarter claim that a better work-life balance would result in less distractions. This points to fact that more can be done by employers around the MENA to make their employees more satisfied at work.”

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