It’s only human nature to let your smartphone, Twitter feed, or even the latest cat video distract you from work. But a recent survey found that politics is actually what’s stealing our attention away from work these days. (Not that anyone could blame us.)
BetterWorks surveyed 500 American full-time workers and found that many of us are spending a lot of time thinking and talking about politics while on the job. In fact, 87 percent of employees copped to reading political social media posts during their 9 to 5s, and they’re reading an average of 14 posts in that eight-hour span of time. (Millennials are reading 18 political posts during the workday.) BetterWorks estimates reading that number of posts adds up to two hours spent not working each day.
And we’re not keeping political news to ourselves. About 73 percent of workers say they talk about politics with coworkers during the day, and 37 percent bring politics into their bosses’ offices. Those conversations not only pull people away from their work but also often turn into full-blown arguments—and there’s nothing quite as distracting as a screaming match in a nearby cubicle. Almost half of workers and 63 percent of millennials have overheard a heated political debate, the survey found.
This all boils down to 29 percent of workers saying they’ve been less productive since the election, a fact that can’t please too many bosses. So keep reading—it’s important to be in the know and politically active, of course—but be careful. Whatever current drama is unfolding in the White House may not be worth your job.