Wasting Time at the Office

Posted on July 12, 2005

Now, we don't want to upset you, but it appears that American workers waste at least two hours a day surfing the Net when they should be working. We know, it's shocking.
U.S. workers say they squander over two hours a day at the workplace, with surfing the Web, socializing with co-workers and simply "spacing out" among the top time-wasting activities, according to a survey released on Monday. Most U.S. companies assume about an hour of wasted time, but workers admit to actually frittering away more than twice as much time at a cost of $759 billion in annual paid salary that results in no apparent productivity, an online survey conducted by America Online and Salary.com showed. Wasted time did not include the standard lunch hour.

Of 10,044 employee respondents, 33 percent said they engaged in time-wasting activities because they didn't have enough work to do. Nearly a quarter of those surveyed said they squandered their work hours because they were underpaid.

Men and women wasted an equal amount of time at work, but older workers were significantly more attentive than younger workers, the survey showed. Workers over 55 years old wasted an average of just 30 minutes a day, according to the survey. Bill Coleman, senior vice president at Salary.com, said some time-wasting activities -- such as personal use of the Internet -- can be positive, resulting in new business ideas or a happier work environment.
A happier work environment? Bill Coleman is probably right. Workers who are downloading the naughty plug-in for Grand Theft Auto when they're supposed to be doing the monthly sales reports are probably pretty happy.

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