Wasting Time on the Job

A new Salary.com survey reveals that nearly 3 in 4 workers admit to wasting time at work. But don't we all?

Specifically, 73% of respondents spend part of their workday on activities that aren't work-related, like personal email, talking with coworkers, or surfing the Web.

I'm surprised the number isn't higher. For example, nearly everyone talks with coworkers, and not all of the talk is work-related. But often the employer benefits from that type of interaction, as it can build camaraderie that is good for morale and the workplace culture. Such socializing isn't a time-waster.

What's more significant is that 22% of respondents admit to wasting up to two hours per day at work. The top time-wasters are: personal Internet use (48%), socializing with coworkers (33%), and conducting personal business (30%). That level of waste will definitely hurt an employer's bottom line.

But it's hard to really measure "wasted time" in today's work environment because personal and professional boundaries are blurred. Yes, you may respond to a personal email while at the office, but how often do you respond to a work email while at home?

For me the issue of interest is wasted time. Period. Whether I'm at work or at home, I hate wasting time. It's the most valuable non-renewable asset I have. Why throw even scraps of it away?

If you share a similar feeling, you might want to check out "Save the Day: How to Find an Extra Hour at the Office" and "Increase Your Efficiency at Work." And since email is such a big factor in how we spend time at work, check out "What Your Inbox Says About You."

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1 Comments

  • Saabira Chaudhuri

    Hi Tom - The idea of what time wasting is is sometimes tricky. There's an article that just came out on the BBC discussing why employers should actually embrace sites like Facebook and MySpace, that have traditionally been seen as time wasters: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/bus...