Wasting Time at Work

Quit reading this and get back to work! Based on a survey of 10, 000 workers, Salary.com claims that surfing the internet is the top at-work time-wasting activity, with 44.7% of respondents admitting to it. Frankly, I can’t believe the number is this low… Socializing with co-workers came in second at 23.4%, followed by conducting personal business, “spacing out, ” running errands, making personal phone calls, applying for other jobs, planning personal events, and arrive late or leaving early. All told, these workers admitted to wasting an average of a bit over two hours per day. So what are the most common excuses for wasting time?

The number one excuse given for all of this wasted time (by 33.2% of respondents) was a lack of work to do, followed by being underpaid and not having enough time after work. The most wasteful industries are insurance, public sector (non-education), research & development, education, and software & internet. The least wasteful industries include shipping & receiving, manufacturing, healthcare related, finance & banking, marketing & communications. Interestingly, women and men waste similar amounts of time despite the fact that HR managers typically assume that women waste more time than men. What about age? As it turns out, the older a person is the less time they tend to waste, with those born between 1930-1949 wasting just 30 minutes per day.

So what’s the cost of all this slacking? All in all, employers are wasting a staggering $759 billion per year on salaries for which real work was expected, but not actually performed — and this number already accounts for the fact that, when setting salaries, employers assume that workers will waste nearly an hour a day.

And how does your state perform? The laziest states in the poll Missouri, Indiana, Kentucky, Wisconsin and Nevada, whereas the hardest working states included South Carolina, Rhode Island, Hawaii, West Virginia and North Carolina.

3 Responses to “Wasting Time at Work”

  1. Anonymous

    A more telling statistic would be what percentage of employees that have access to a computer at work waste time on it. You’re average shoe salesman probably doesn’t waste time on the Internet, but I be he would if he could.


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