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89% of employees admit to wasting time at work every day

03 November 2016 by Michael Giffney 0 Comments

Think about it...how much time do you waste on non-work-related activities in an average day? The great majority of us - 89% - admit to wasting at least half an hour and no one will be surprised to learn the no.1 culprit is personal use of technology.  

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 'NoMophobia' is getting in the way of work

Australians have become so addicted to their smartphones that they can't imagine NOT checking them during business hours.

In fact the addiction to always being connected has even been given the (non)working title – nomophobia – by health professionals.

It is difficult to quantify how much time employees waste looking at their smartphones because a recent study conducted by British psychologists found that adults aged 18-30 use their smartphones roughly twice as much as they estimate that they do.

Most underestimate smartphone use

Ten minutes here, fifteen minutes there - it is all adding up.

In fact, that small preliminary study found that adding up the time spent on every short check of notifications, emails, texts etc, came to a total average of five hours a day -- that's roughly one-third of their total waking hours. 

89% of employees admit to time-wasting

Yet even for all our under-estimating, still 89% of employees admit to wasting at least 30 minutes or longer on an average day.

The Salary.com report revealed that 62% admitted to wasting up to an hour, with a remaining 26% confessed to wasting between one and five hours a day.

Meanwhile the time-wasting is growing year on year with the 89% up from 69% in 2014.

Salary.com reported the following self-estimates from its survey::

  • 31% waste roughly 30 minutes daily
  • 31% waste roughly 1 hour daily
  • 16% waste roughly 2 hours daily
  • 6% waste roughly 3 hours daily
  • 2% waste roughly 4 hours daily
  • 2% waste 5 or more hours daily


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Personal Use of Technology biggest time-waster

Meanwhile another survey for CareerBuilder questioned over 2,000 hiring managers and HR professionals and 3,000 full-time workers across a variety of industries and company sizes in the United States to determine the reasons for the steadily increasing waste of time.

Not surprisingly, personal use of technology continues to lead the charge featuring as three of the top five reasons.

According to the survey, time wasters are doing the following:

  1. Talking on the mobile phone and texting – 50%
  2. Gossiping – 42%
  3. On the Internet – 39%
  4. On Social media – 38%
  5. Taking snack breaks or smoke breaks – 27%
  6. Distracted by noisy co-workers – 24%
  7. In meetings – 23%
  8. On email – 23%
  9. Distracted by co-worker drop bys – 23%
  10. Distracted by co-worker calls on speaker phone – 10% 

Move over Facebook, Google is biggest time-waster

With a total of 77% of employees admitting to wasting time "on the internet" and "on social media", just what are we looking at.

Google at 24% is the biggest online time-waster, with Facebook right behind at 23%. LinkedIn came in third with 14%, followed by Yahoo 7%, Amazon 2%, YouTube 2%, ESPN 2%, and Pinterest, Twitter, and Craigslist each receiving 1%.

What are our reasons for time wasting?  

Why do people waste time? Would you believe most employees believe it makes them achieve more.

More than half (53%) of all those surveyed said they wasted time because they believe short breaks actually increase productivity.

Boredom came in a distant second as 20% of people said they simply aren’t interested enough in their jobs to pay full attention.

Lack of incentive (8%), being unsatisfied with their jobs (7%), and not being paid enough (2%) also made the list.

What Are the Most Wasteful Days & Times?

Tuesday mornings are the most productive days of the week.

On the flip side, it should come as no surprise that Friday afternoons are still the prime time to waste time. Forty-four percent said they waste the most time on Fridays, and 22% said the hours they waste the most time are between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

The other most wasteful time is Monday afternoon, with 18% choosing Mondays and 18% saying 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. is the second most wasteful time while at work.

The most productive time of every day is between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Men in 20s-30s biggest time-wasters

Statistically all ages are significant time-wasters, but if you’re wondering who wastes the most time at work, the answer is single men in their 20s and 30s.

Men waste slightly more time than women at work (91% to 87%), although more women (27%) prefer using Facebook to men (17%). 

Although familiarity with technology would have us believe that the youngest workers are most likely to waste the most time, it’s actually people between the ages of 26 to 39 who are the biggest offenders.

  • 91% of people 18-25 waste time daily
  • 95% of people 26-32 waste time daily
  • 92% of people 33-39 waste time daily
  • 90% of people 40-50 waste time daily
  • 85% of people 51-60 waste time daily
  • 78% of people 60+ waste time daily

100% of Bankers waste time

All of the people working in finance and banking who took the survey – that’s a full 100% -- admitted to wasting at least a little time at work each day.

Coming in second were people working in the arts, media, and entertainment business with 95% of employees wasting time daily, and then the engineering, design, and construction industry with 94%.

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