Time to fire men, and people with PhDs

by Rose Sneyd05 Apr 2013

An annual survey on time-wasting at work has revealed that more employees are wasting time on a daily basis this year than last year. In 2012, 64% of respondents to the Salary.com survey admitted to slacking off a little each day, but in 2013 an additional 5% did.*

Around a third of respondents (34%) owned up to wasting half an hour or less in the office, while about a quarter put the figure at between 30-60 minutes. Around one in 10 of your employees, however, admitted to wasting several hours every day! (About the same number that said that they never wasted time at all.)

Chatting with co-workers stole the most time (43%), followed by surfing online (28%), and texting, using social media, or phone calls (4%), but the internet was the most common time time-waster.

Of the 80% of employees who wasted time on non-work-related websites, 37% identified reading the news online as their top time-waster, 14% nominated social media, and 12% did their online shopping. Of individual websites, Facebook is the most likely to suck up people’s time (15%), closely followed by Yahoo! (14%), and LinkedIn (10%).

Those who are most likely to waste time on a daily basis include men (73%) and people with doctorate degrees (76%). And the least likely? Divorcees (51%), apparently, and those with a high school diploma or less (59%).

So what should you do about this? Fire all your male employees, and those with PhDs? Nothing, actually. “While every second spent “not working” seems like lost money for the business, the reality is being on, constantly, for eight hours can be draining. You need time to recharge. Your employees need time to recharge,” wrote Suzanne Lucas, otherwise known as Evil HR Lady, in Inc.com.

She advised focusing on the end results – that is, what employees actually produce. ”If your employees aren’t getting their (reasonable) workloads done, then you start with the crackdowns – on an individual basis,” she suggested. However, she warned against succumbing to the ‘rookie mistake’ of creating a blanket ban that will only annoy productive workers.

*Survey recipients included more than 1,000 American workers.


  • by Claire Ferrie 5/04/2013 2:42:28 PM

    Maybe we're not slacking more, maybe we're just being more honest?

  • by Heidi C 8/04/2013 4:12:31 PM

    We should also take into consideration that this article does not equate taking this extra time with being less productive. I find that I am able to be more productive if I take "mental health breaks" every now and then throughout the day. "Time-wasting" can result in more productive staff - just ask Google!

  • by Dr Tim Baker 12/04/2013 2:57:19 PM

    I find these results dubious. Taking a mental break as Heidi put itis not wasting time. On the other hand, just becasue someone is busy, doesn't ncessarily mean they are being productive.