Do you work for 3 minutes before getting distracted?

Research has suggested that on average employees work for 3 minutes before getting distracted. When trying to get back to the task on hand, it can take 5 times that amount of time. This can create the feeling of being overwhelmed and can cause stress.

It is a stunning statistic but does it apply to the Hospitality industry?

Academic studies found that distractions include both interruptions and self-interruptions and that this can take place in both digital and in human form.

The research was conducted on office workers so some may argue it would not affect those working ‘on the floor’ in the industry and would only apply to those in office placed roles in Hospitality.

It is interesting research because those not working in offices are often distracted – it can actually form part of their role in many cases.

  • A waiter may go from an order at a table and receive 3 more whilst making their way to the kitchen. If the distraction is embedded in the position, does it still cause a feeling of being overwhelmed and stressed?
  • A hotel porter may handle several tasks at once with each requiring a certain level of urgency – yet these ‘distractions’ are the nature of the job and many of the best can handle without any complaint.
  • A chef in a busy kitchen does not have the time to be distracted, it will impact service levels and cause numerous problems. Why can this rule not apply to those based in the office?

Perhaps the hope is that office workers who are distracted can learn lessons from the Hospitality industry. It is one which works with distractions all the time.

The industry copes with stress in numerous different roles. Some strive for the pressure and enjoy tackling the greatest challenges for the feeling of sheer excitement and overwhelming joy when completing a project or task.

It could be argued that there may be an underlying level of pressure and stress which is unhealthy, but this is possibly a debate for another day. For now  the Hospitality industry can take pride in coping with the demand, speed and difficulty for the simple result of making people feel good, cared for and happy.

Are office workers really distracted every 3 minutes?

Do Hospitality workers feel the stress but due to the nature of the job battle on?

Is there a lesson to be learnt from the busy waiter?

For more information on ‘Spotted this week’ please contact Ben Butler

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