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Office distractions cost UK businesses £140bn a year

The average British businessperson only manages to complete three hours and 50 minutes of constructive work each day with over half (51%) of office time devoted to fielding unnecessary emails and phone calls.

Cadillac asked over 1,000 UK businesspeople about their office efficiency to mark the launch of its new "backseat boardroom" initiative, which will offer chauffeured Cadillac cars as mobile “think” spaces that people can use to escape office distractions.

Despite working the longest hours in Europe, nearly half (44%) of UK businesspeople say their most productive working occurs outside of the office on their journey into and out of work – with office distractions taking up an average of four hours 10 minutes every day.

By only using 49% of the working day constructively office workers are wasting over 20 working hours a week – 960 hours a year – costing UK businesses £140 billion in lost labour costs. Three quarters (75%) of all UK businesspeople say they have suffered stress or “office rage” caused by an overload of internal distractions.

The top five office distractions are:

1. Reading and responding to unnecessary emails
2. Surfing the internet for non-work related means
3. Idle office gossip
4. Malfunctioning computers
5. Answering pointless internal phone calls

The research found that 39% of all office emails travel less than 100m (from sender to recipient) resulting in 82% of businesspeople admitting they spend up to three hours a day reading and replying to internal communication.

Over one in three (39%) of office workers say they would like their boss to follow in the footsteps of John Caudwell, the multi-millionaire founder of high street retailer Phones 4-U, who in 2003 banned email throughout his company in preference of face-to-face meetings. Caudwell estimated that the ban would save workers three hours a day and at least £1 million a month in saved time.

In an effort to increase British productivity, Cadillac is loaning out a fleet of its luxury SRX cars for use as mobile "think" spaces that can be used as meeting rooms or just quiet contemplation spaces.

Cadillac said: "In today’s business world, time is probably the most precious commodity and being caught up in unnecessary internal communication, which takes hours to deal with, is a frustrating distraction.

"We know that the inertia of travelling helps stimulate creative thinking so by offering businesspeople the opportunity to get away from their desks and into a luxury mobile meeting room we’re hoping we can help increase their productivity."

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