How much time is wasted at work?

December 3, 2010 by  

How much time do people waste in the workplace?  A lot more than most people probably think!  I came across this great infographic today in a post on Campus Socialite called Hardly Working: A Look In To Laziness In The Workplace.  They grabbed these statistics from Online MBA who put together this eye opening display:

And this doesn’t even touch on all the useless meetings and other time sucks of office life – one more feather in the cap of working from The Anywhere Office!  It’s a wonder anything gets done at all. With a more flexible work schedule it’s easier to schedule some of these “distractions” into your day and still get solid work time in – but when you are in the cube farm from 9 – 5 it’s a different story.

What do you think are you surprised by any of these statistics?  Post a comment below and let us know!

  • Phil:
    No question that a typical corporate office environment is inherently inefficient. I admit to doing all these things, excepting Facebook and Fantasy Football. This just talks about while people are there. What about the hours that people might have stuck around to finish a project that they skipped out on due to their laborious commutes?

    By the way, you have got to tell me how you did the 4 heads video pimping your tech stuff. Nicely done.

    • You said it Karl – not only is a corporate office environment highly inefficient – their are untold hours wasted commuting back and forth. It was Alvin Toffller (well know futurist and author of Future Shock and The Third Wave) that once said “the single most anti-productive thing we do is to ship millions of workers back and forth across the landscape every morning and evening.” and I couldn’t agree more!

      I too have done many of these things way back in the day when I was working in an office – although back then there was no Facebook or Fantasy football! I really would have been a master at looking busy without working if I had those vices . . . LOL!

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  • Petrus Hansen

    Thomas Edison said that: “Vision without execution is hallucination”. Leaders who work smart are effective planners with a focus on getting things done with the best use of their time and their resources.

    Management coach Padraig Hyland takes a humorous look at time and apparently it can be beaten.

    Watch this insightful time management video @

    • That is a great Edison quote (he has many) – thanks for sharing it Petrus! I followed the link you posted but didn’t find the Padraig Hyland video on time management. I searched the website (which looks chock full of great videos and information) but couldn’t find it. If you find it please post the updated link – I would love to watch it!

  • Hey Phil,
    First off – I read some of your posts and really enjoy your blog!

    Secondly – As a guy who worked in an office for many years (spending 50% of my time on freelance projects), and now as a guy who runs a small business with 4 employees – I find that being easy going on the web surfing actually helps my staff get more done quickly.

    My approch is much like my 4th grade (and favorite) teacher – Let’s a amount of work to get done, and then we can play and have fun for the rest of the day. As soon as I started doing this, no only was everything on the whiteboard done by 2:00 or 3:00 – but we don’t even use the free time for FB and time wasters anymore… we go out for 2 hour lunches, play ping-pong, and sit around and talk about new ideas for the site.

    • Scott – I applaud your management style and couldn’t agree more! That flexibility of approach is what makes the difference between smart businesses that really leverage today’s technology and understand that it’s all about deliverables. Who cares how many hours you work as long as the deadlines are met, the projects are completed, and the clients/customers are happy.

      Huzzah to your 4th grade teacher for instilling such a valuable lesson and to you for seeing that is translates to a wise business philosophy. If only more business owners and managers thought like you!

  • That is really an interesting post. And distractions from other workers are really normal. An having proper work ethics would be a lot of help.

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  • The
    internet nowadays is full of distractions that even the most focused employee
    would be tempted to surf the internet for non-work related stuff. Employers are
    implementing some rules to keep their staff from wasting time and to protect
    their company. I’ve bumped into a
    2011 infographic about Employee’s wasted work time. Just by looking at the
    two, you could see the difference and you could know what happened to the
    percentage after a year.


    It’s not wrong to take a
    break from time to time but it’s better for us to follow the policies our
    employers have implemented.

    • Yes Angelique – it’s easy to see “something shiny” between websites, blogs, and social media.  Thanks for sharing the infographic.  It is a good compliment to the one I shared above.

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