Workers are spending two hours a day reading and talking about politics, according to a survey from Wakefield Research.
Workers are spending two hours a day reading and talking about politics, according to a survey from Wakefield Research. (Mark Fiore/KQED)

Only one time before has CEO Andy Ruben seen his co-workers so distracted by the news, and that was a very different situation: 9/11.

Ruben is CEO of Yerdle, a San Francisco company that helps retailers resell used products. Since the election of Donald Trump and subsequent political turmoil, Ruben said it has been hard to keep his workers focused.

“Their general feeling about the world right now is absolutely affecting their ability to show up and be productive at work,” Ruben said.

How much of an impact are we talking about here? Well, that’s a tough thing for businesses to measure. Kris Duggan wanted to get a concrete answer.

Duggan is CEO of BetterWorks, which develops software to manage employee performance. Since the election, even his own employees have been unfocused. “This is like a whole new world of distraction,” Duggan said.

Instead of recharging on weekends, like good worker bees, employees are out protesting. At work they are posting on social media and debating with colleagues. To try to quantify this distraction, Duggan commissioned the consultancy firm Wakefield Research to do a national survey of 500 full-time employees.

“The results were shocking,” Duggan said. “We found that 87 percent of employees are reading political social media posts during the workday.”

The survey found that workers on average are spending two hours reading or talking about political news at work. For some employees it’s three or four hours a day. And it’s not just liberals in…