Are you reading this at work? Then it’s probably counting towards the estimated 1/3 of the day that 32% of workers admit to wasting.
A new study by Hirescores.com calls it ‘surprising’ that 96% of British workers admitted avoiding work by doing non-essential tasks like desk tidying and tea-making.
But attempting to spend all day, every day, fully focused on the job at hand is pretty unrealistic. So what are people doing that ‘wastes’ time, and is it really a surprise?
– Maybe you don’t actually have enough work. If you’re not being challenged, do something about it, or get out of there before you get burnt out.
– 23.4% of Salary.com’s 2005 survey respondents said they wasted time because they felt underpaid. Time wasting is taking time, which equals money. It might give you a certain satisfaction, but slacking will never get you that raise!
– Idly surfing the web was the biggest distraction for 44.7% of people. Access is restricted for many employees, but that often creates resentment, and who’s to say exactly what’s relevant? Just use your privileges wisely!
– Talking to co-workers was the second favorite distraction. Touching base with another human being is necessary for all but the hermit, and a bit of gossip or a harmless flirt can brighten up an otherwise spreadsheet-filled kind of day…
– Making tea might be considered non-essential, but in reality, someone has to! The mood in every place I’ve ever worked in would have quickly disintegrated to foul without caffeine and its associated rituals.
– Is tidying non-essential? We’re always told that a tidy desk creates a good impression, as well as helping you to, well, find things…
– Staring into space, mangling a paper clip or doodling — you can’t even pretend to be applying yourself in the traditional sense, but there could be a brilliant idea in the making, one which requires a certain amount of motionless cogitating.
So take a quick five minutes to make the tea, shuffle some papers or check that you haven’t gone hideously overdrawn. No-one should waste anything like three hours of company time, but you do have a lawful right to breaks. In the end, it’s a matter of balance, so let your conscience lead the way and hope you find the kind of workplace that realizes that a relaxed and happy employee is a productive one.
This is a guest post by Kat Dawes.
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