Writes Mark, “This suggests a fairly high cognitive cost to resume work, as people are distracted by multiple other topics, and sometimes even nested interruptions. Our informants report that this can result in redundant work as they reorient.” Mark acknowledges that interruptions are often relevant to the work at hand, but notes that “reorientation” to the task comes at a cognitive cost. A report from Basex quantified the cost of interruptions. It found that the average knowledge worker loses 2.1 hours per day to “unimportant interruptions or distractions.”
Quite simply, people need the mental and physical space to think. In fact, the number-one predictor of job performance and satisfaction is the ability to concentrate in one’s own workplace. While work environments that include places for quiet, uninterrupted work as well as collaborative work can help a worker fight the urge to multitask, a worker’s ability to concentrate comes in part from being determined to concentrate.