ON 'BORROWED' TIME
Employees Spend Three Work Hours a Week on Personal Tasks, Survey Shows
MENLO PARK, CA -- “Where does the day go?” many workers lament, which might explain why those polled for a recent survey said they spend an average of 36 minutes per day, or the equivalent of three hours a week, attending to personal tasks at the office. Executives were asked the same question, and they estimated their staff members spend an average of 43 minutes each day on non-work activities.
The two surveys were developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in the placement of highly skilled administrative professionals. They were conducted by an independent research firm and include responses from 559 full- or part-time workers 18 years of age or older and employed in office environments, and 150 senior executives at the nation’s 1,000 largest companies.
Workers were asked, “How much time each day do you think you spend attending to personal tasks during work hours?” Their mean response was 36 minutes.
Executives were asked, “How much time each day do you think the average employee spends attending to personal tasks during work hours?” Their mean response was 43 minutes.
“There are only so many hours in the day to meet job requirements and personal obligations, and employers are aware that not all of the work day is spent on business,” said Diane Domeyer, executive director of OfficeTeam. “In fact, some businesses have responded by providing staff with on-site daycare or concierge-type services such as dry cleaning and personal shopping.”
But Domeyer pointed out that misuse of company time can lead to significant losses in productivity. “The best employers take steps to accommodate the need by staff for work-life balance,” she said. “Unfortunately, employees who abuse these benefits undermine the success of the programs.”
In the survey of workers, differences by gender and age emerged: Women said they take an average of 29 minutes daily to attend to personal tasks during office hours, while men admitted to spending 44 minutes each day on non-work related activities. Younger employees also were more apt to take personal time during business hours. Survey respondents between the ages of 18 and 34 estimated spending an average of 45 minutes each day on personal pursuits at work, compared to 32 minutes for those between the ages of 35 and 64, and 17 minutes for workers age 65 years or older.
OfficeTeam has more than 300 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at www.officeteam.com.