Secrets of the Job Hunt


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Are you wasting your time at work?

Well, according to this survey about 20% of you are. But hey isn't that what work is for? Doing personal things at work is part of the work/life balance that we all seek. If you can't get a few personal things done at work, life would really suck. Employers shouldn't worry about surveys like this. They need to worry about keeping their employees happy.

US Employees Waste 20% of Their Work Day According to™ Survey Personal internet use and socializing with co-workers among activities that consume an average of 1.7 hours per day, Inc. (NASDAQ: SLRY), a leading provider of on-demand compensation management solutions, today released the results of its 2007 Wasting Time Survey revealing that the average employee wastes 1.7 hours of a typical 8.5 hour work day. This is the third year has conducted the survey and, while the amount of wasted time has steadily declined, companies are still paying billions in salaries for which they receive no direct benefit.

As in previous years, personal Internet use (34.7% of respondents), socializing with co-workers (20.3%) and conducting personal business (17.0%) remain the leading time-wasting activities. Respondents also report making personal phone calls and taking long breaks to run errands while on the job.

Interestingly, the reasons for wasting time cover both extremes. While many employees admit to wasting time because they ‘don’t have enough work to do’ (17.7%), the second most popular, and somewhat contradictory, response is ‘my hours are too long’ (13.9%). Employees also cite being underpaid (11.8%) and a lack of challenging work (11.1%) as reasons for slacking on the job.

“While a certain amount of wasted time is built into company salary structures, our research indicates that companies with a challenged and engaged workforce can expect more productivity in return,” states Bill Coleman, chief compensation officer at

While the amount of time wasted at work may appear high, it has actually declined 19 percent since the first survey in 2005. At that time employees reported wasting an average of 2.09 hours per day and, in 2006, the figure receded to 1.86 hours. This trend is likely the result of numerous factors, including a growing economy, increases in employee productivity and a tightening labor market.

“A shortage of labor and tighter company budgets have resulted in an increased burden on employees who now have less time available to waste,” adds Coleman. “This translates into a greater return for companies but increases the risk of employee burnout. When increasing workloads, organizations should also allow a certain amount of flexibility for employees to conduct personal business or take a mental breather.”

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