Tech & Work

A guide to wasting time at work

According to a survey on, employees admit to "wasting" approximately 2.09 hours of each work day. How do they waste the time? Surfing the Net, chatting with co-workers, making personal phone calls, and running personal errands.

Here's how the time wasting break down:

  1. Surfing the Internet — 44.7 percent
  2. Socializing with co-workers — 23.4 percent
  3. Conducting personal business — 6.8 percent [Bowers' note: I'm not sure if this means calling your hairstylist to schedule an appointment or running a dry-cleaning business out of your cube.]
  4. Spacing out — 3.9 percent [Bowers' note: How, exactly, would you measure that?]
  5. Running errands off-premise — 3.1 percent
  6. Making personal phone calls — 2.3 percent
  7. Applying for other jobs — 1.3 percent
  8. Planning personal events — 1.0 percent
  9. Arriving late/leaving early — 1.0 percent
  10. Other — 12.5 percent [Bowers' note: Other? What's left, dare I ask?]

Also according to the survey, the way in which time is wasted also varies by age:

  • 58-77 years old: 0.50 hours per day
  • 48-57 years old: 0.68 hours per day
  • 38-47 years old: 1.19 hours per day
  • 28-37 years old: 1.61 hours per day
  • 22-27 years old: 1.95 hours per day

(Wonder how much time is "wasted" in meetings or poor communication between departments?) Do you think these numbers are about right? How do you "waste" time?


Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

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