Wasted Time At Work


According to a recent survey, the average worker in the UK admits to frittering away 2.09 hours per 8-hour workday, not including lunch and scheduled break-time.

As a matter of practice, companies assume a certain amount of wasted time when determining employee pay, however this new survey indicates that employees are wasting about twice as much time as their employers expect.

So what is the biggest distraction? Yes, you guessed it: personal internet use. 44.7% of the more than 10,000 people polled cited web surfing as their #1 distraction at work. Socialising with co-workers came in second at 23.4%. Conducting personal business, "chilling out", running errands, and making personal phone calls were the other popular time-wasting activities in the workplace.

Employees say they’re not always to blame for this wasted time, however. 33.2% of respondents cited lack of work as their biggest reason for wasting time. 23.4% said they wasted time at work because they feel as if they are underpaid.

But, are workers really expected to work 8 hours per day, non-stop? Companies assume that employees will waste 0.94 hours per day. They take this into account when they do their compensation planning. However, those managers privately suspect that employees waste 1.6 hours per day. In fact, employees admit to wasting 2.09 hours per day.

To some bosses, that’s a startling figure. Others, though, will view this extra wasted time as so-called ‘creative waste’ – wasted time that may well have a positive impact on the company’s culture, work environment, and even business results.

So, who tends to waste the most amount of time at work?


  • Men vs Women: Men and women waste about the same amount of time per day. This, despite the fact that most HR managers surveyed suspected that women wasted more time at work than men.
  • Youngsters vs. Seniors: It seems that the older people are, the less time they waste at work.


If you are guilty of wasting a little time at work (and reading this far may indicate that you are) it may be comforting to know that you are not alone. It is nice to see that UK workers aren’t all work-minded 100% of the day, and that their employers are realistic about that too.

Some employees even told us other ways they waste their time at work, such as primping in the bathroom mirror and having running races up the staircase with co-workers. One respondent writes, "the hurried walk around the office is not only a great way to look like you are busy, but also a good cardio exercise." Other employees bring Game Boys or needlework to the office. And when all other time-wasting tactics fail, there is always staring blankly at your computer screen or out a window.

So, now that you’ve found out that your average co-worker also likes to indulge in some time-out, why not take a few minutes to surf the web or socialise with co-workers. Then, get back to work!

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