- Employees should have the right to ignore workplace distractions like email and instant messages, research and advisory firm Forrester suggested in a Dec. 5 report.
- The report called for an "employee experience bill of rights" — something the firm said is necessary for business leaders to exhibit a commitment to establishing a sense of security and long-term stability amid disruption from artificial intelligence, automation and more. Such guarantees would drive psychological safety, Forrester said.
- "The modern workplace is a waking nightmare for any employee trying to focus on important work and shut out distractions," the report said, suggesting that, among other things, employers empower workers to ignore interruptions such as meeting requests and Slack messages.
Employees have in recent years reported a stop-start nature of work. The average worker can't get 30 minutes of uninterrupted work time, according to a 2018 study, and 17% report they can't get 15 minutes without a digital distraction.
Varying applications for different tasks may be part of the problem, according to other research. Including communication apps for texts, phone calls, team messaging, web meetings and video conferencing, employees are using an average of four apps, and 20% are using six or more, a survey found. Employees also said they moved between apps up to 10 times per hour, wasting up to an hour per day or 32 days per year.
Forrester didn't define parameters for its suggestion but instead recommended that employers quantify their current employee experiences and craft employee bills of rights that suit their work and workforces. Other experts have suggested that employers consider whether they're inadvertently encouraging an "on-demand" culture — and whether that needs a thoughtful redesign.