13 times things got weird and unproductive at work

Distracted worker

Naturally, the two go hand in hand.

Technology, the Internet and cell phones have become such a common part of our lives, it's now habit to check your device between meetings, between emails, between buses, between commercials, between this and the next sentence…

We're living in a fast-paced world that comes with a lot of fun, tempting distractions—and your employer is worried. In a new survey from CareerBuilder, employers discuss the most common productivity killers in the workplace. The new survey also shares the most bizarre things they caught employees doing while on the clock.

We promise this isn't clickbait—keep reading and you can totally justify this as workplace productivity education.

Productivity killers living on your desk
Your boss doesn't expect you to be a robot, but on-the-clock distractions like social media or overly chatty co-workers can end up costing employers through losses like worker productivity or revenue. Employers were asked to rank the biggest productivity killers in the workplace, citing cell phones/texting (52 percent) the Internet (44 percent), gossip (37 percent), social media (36 percent), email (31 percent), co-workers dropping by (27 percent), meetings (26 percent), smoke breaks/snack breaks (27 percent), noisy co-workers (17 percent) and sitting in a cubicle (10 percent).

And these productivity killers can lead to negative consequences for the organization, including a compromised quality of work (45 percent), lower morale because other workers have to pick up the slack (30 percent), a negative impact on boss/employee relationship (25 percent), missed deadlines (24 percent) and a loss in revenue (21 percent).

Reclaiming your time and productivity
To prevent these productivity killers, nearly 3 in 4 employers (74 percent) have taken at least one step to mitigate the waste of time, like blocking certain Internet sites (33 percent) and banning personal calls/cell phone use (23 percent). Other efforts to curtail productivity killers include:

  • Scheduled lunch and break times: 21 percent
  • Monitor emails and Internet use: 21 percent
  • Limit meetings: 16 percent
  • Allow people to telecommute: 13 percent
  • Have an open space layout instead of cubicles: 12 percent

"Between the Internet, cell phones and co-workers, there are so many stimulants in today's workplace, it's easy to see how employees get sidetracked," says Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer of CareerBuilder. "The good news is, taking breaks from work throughout the day can actually be good for productivity, enabling the mind to take a break from the job at hand and re-energize you. The trick is finding the right (work-appropriate) activities that promote – rather than deplete – energy."

Haefner offers the following tips for productive procrastination.

  • Schedule "play" breaks. Give yourself permission to take a break, and set a definite ending time. Not only will you have something to look forward to after you've worked hard, you will also know when it's time to get back to work.
  • Surround yourself with productive people. Much like laughter, productivity can be infectious. Watching how others make themselves productive can inspire us to act similarly.
  • Make yourself accountable to your (social) network. Can't seem to motivate yourself to finish (or start) a big project? Post on your Facebook wall that you will do it. Making yourself publicly accountable will make you more likely to actually do something.
  • Just walk away (literally). Can't seem to concentrate? Go for a 10- or 20-minute walk. Research shows that a few minutes of light exercise can rejuvenate the brain and lead to sharper cognitive function.

13 times things got weird at work
Employers were also asked to reveal the most unusual or most memorable things they have found an employee doing when they should have been working. Some of the more memorable answers included:

1. Employee was taking a sponge bath in the bathroom sink.
2. Employee was trying to hypnotize other employees to stop their smoking habits.
3. Employee was visiting a tanning bed in lieu of making deliveries.
4. Employee was looking for a mail order bride.
5. Employee was playing a video game on their cell phone while sitting in a bathroom stall.
6. Employee was drinking vodka while watching Netflix.
7. Employee was sabotaging another employee's car tires.
8. Employee was sleeping on the CEO's couch.
9. Employee was writing negative posts about the company on social media.
10. Employee was sending inappropriate pictures to other employees.
11. Employee was making a model plane.
12. Employee was flying drones around the office.
13. Employee was printing pictures of animals, naming them after employees and hanging them in the work area.