Wasting time at work? You're not alone: survey

NEW YORK Wed Jul 25, 2007 6:36pm EDT

A woman types on a keyboard in a file photo. Americans who feel bored and underpaid do work hard -- at surfing the net and catching up on gossip, according to a survey that found U.S. workers waste about 20 percent of their working day. REUTERS/Sherwin Crasto

A woman types on a keyboard in a file photo. Americans who feel bored and underpaid do work hard -- at surfing the net and catching up on gossip, according to a survey that found U.S. workers waste about 20 percent of their working day.

Credit: Reuters/Sherwin Crasto

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Americans who feel bored and underpaid do work hard -- at surfing the net and catching up on gossip, according to a survey that found U.S. workers waste about 20 percent of their working day.

An online survey of 2,057 employees by online compensation company Salary.com found about six in every 10 workers admit to wasting time at work with the average employee wasting 1.7 hours of a typical 8.5 hour working day.

Personal Internet use topped the list as the leading time-wasting activity according to 34 percent of respondents, with 20.3 percent then listing socializing with co-workers and 17 percent conducting personal business as taking up time.

The reasons why people wasted time were varied with nearly 18 percent of respondents questioned by e-mail in June and July said boredom and not having enough to do was the main reason.

The second most popular reason for wasting time was having too long hours (13.9 percent), being underpaid (11.8 percent), and a lack of challenging work (11.1 percent).

"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," said Bill Coleman, chief compensation officer at Salary.com.

While the amount of time wasted at work seems high, Coleman said the numbers have improved, with the amount of time wasted dropping 19 percent since Salary.com conducted its first annual survey on slacking at work in 2005. Then workers reported wasting 2.09 hours of their working day.

"I think (the decline) is really a result of the economy and that there's more business, more work available and less time to sit around wondering what you are going to do with your day," Coleman told Reuters.

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