Bruce Ayres / Getty Images
Web surfing? Facebook? Online shopping? No. The water cooler, or its equivalent, kills the most time.
Technology may be revolutionizing the workplace, but old-fashioned distractions like meetings and chatting with co-workers are still considered the biggest office time-wasters.
That, at least, is the conclusion of a survey of office workers, released Thursday by TrackVia, a Denver-based software company.
Office chit-chat ranked as the No. 1 work distraction, the top choice of 14 percent of those surveyed, while meetings and computer problems followed close behind at 11 percent each.
Other time wasters mentioned by survey respondents:
- Surfing the web
- Dealing with office politics
- Addressing misunderstandings with co-workers
- Using social media
- Checking email
- Following company rules and procedures
It’s no surprise employees see going to meetings as a major obstacle to accomplishing their work-day goals, says productivity expert Laura Stack.
“A lot of people feel like they spend their entire day in meetings,” says Stack, a Denver-based speaker and author who leads 80 to 100 productivity training sessions a year.
In her experience with clients, however, employees waste far more time checking email, instant messages and social media like Facebook -- what she calls “tech time” -- than dealing with computer problems or on other non-critical tasks. “You could sit in your inbox all day and at the end of the day say, ‘Where’d all my time go?’” Stack says.
Holly Witt, a Portland, Ore., insurance account executive, says social media is her biggest time waster, especially Facebook.
“I keep telling myself to deactivate the account and I am almost there,” she says.
Slightly more than half of employees surveyed (51 percent) say they waste up to two hours a week on tasks that aren’t work related or don’t help them “get real work done.” Approximately 11 percent say they waste 6 to 9 hours on nonessential tasks, and close to 4 percent said they waste 10 to 19 hours during the work week, according to the survey.
The survey of 300 workers, conducted this month by Amplitude Research, has a margin of error of about 6 percent.
Michelle V. Rafter is a Portland, Ore., reporter who wastes time at work on Twitter and Pinterest.
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