You know those people who feel left out when they don’t get invited to something?
I never understood them.
Invitations and weekend plans just give me anxiety. I’m more comfortable seeing my TV “friends” at home—Ross, Rachel and the rest of the gang—rather than my actual ones out on the town.
I'm an introvert and essentially a social anxiety sufferer.
Then there’s the fact that, quite frankly, sometimes talking to people just annoys me. I often cringe when my cell phone rings.
(I know this sounds kind of bad but I’m really a nice person. Really.)
Often it comes down to the fact that I just want to get through my to-do list as quickly as possible so my stress levels subside (Note: I’m also a high-level stresser. Clearly, I have a lot of problems).
Obviously this has an effect on my work life. I can easily handle a career based on constant deadlines and urgency. But constant chit-chat in the workplace? No thanks.
So I felt a little vindicated this week when some new research came out to support us independent (and quiet) workers:
A new TrackVia survey finds that office chit-chat is the No. 1 distraction in the workplace.
Slightly more than half of employees surveyed say they waste up to two hours a week on tasks that aren’t work related or don’t help them “get real work done.” Eleven percent say they waste 6 to 9 hours on nonessential tasks, and close to 4 percent say they waste about half their work week.
(Those other distractions, by the way, include social media, office politics and meetings—all items, I’d like to point out, that involve communicating with other people.)
So where in the world of employee benefits does this tidbit lead us to? Telecommuting.
Unless we get to work for Google or somewhere fantastic like that, the thought of working from home sounds pretty darn good. In fact, research shows plenty of individuals would like to telecommute, and many would even give up a portion of their salary for the privilege. And employers have a good reason to offer it: Studies show that telecommuting increases both employee productivity and satisfaction.
So this, on top of the hours they would save by not having coworkers conversing about really intriguing information—you know, like the weather and "The Bachelor"—can quite possibly get employers more bang for their buck.
On top of health insurance and other good things—say, a decent salary—employers should embrace some nontraditional benefits. The results may be surprising.
Of course, working from home isn’t for everybody. But at least for those of us stuck in the office, this survey gives us some ammo for telling people to shut up when you tell them for the fifth time that you don’t watch reality television.