Employee productivity averages under three hours a day, survey finds

Shortening the working day
A new survey has discovered that in an eight-hour working day, the average employee spends over five hours doing other things besides working.

According to research by VoucherCloud, trawling through social media and reading news websites are the main distractions for employees from their work.

The UK’s largest money saving brand polled 1,989 full-time office workers over 18 about their online habits and productivity at work. Respondents were asked whether they considered themselves to be productive throughout the entire working day, with 79 per cent admitting ‘no’.

The study then asked the respondents ‘If you had to state a figure, how long do you think you spend productively working during work hours on a daily basis?’

Results revealed that the average answer was two hours and 53 minutes of productivity, across all respondents.

The top 10 responses for what participants do instead of working were as follows:

1. Checking social media – 47 per cent
2. Reading news websites – 45 per cent
3. Discussing out-of-work activities with colleagues – 38 per cent
4. Making hot drinks – 31 per cent
5. Smoking breaks – 28 per cent
6. Text/instant messaging – 27 per cent
7. Eating snacks – 25 per cent
8. Making food in office – 24 per cent
9. Making calls to partner/friends- 24 per cent
10. Searching for new jobs – 19 per cent

Respondents who admitted to ‘at work distractions’ were asked how long they believed they spent on each during the eight-hour working day, which revealed the following averages when from all respondents:

  1. Checking social media – 44 minutes (spent doing this during working day)
  2. Reading news websites – 1 hour five minutes
  3. Discussing out of work activities with colleagues – 40 minutes
  4. Making hot drinks – 17 minutes
  5. Smoking breaks – 23 minutes
  6. Text/instant messaging – 14 minutes
  7. Eating snacks – eight minutes
  8. Making food in office– seven minutes
  9. Making calls to partner/ friends – 18 minutes
  10. Searching for new jobs- 26 minutes

Of the respondents, only 35 per cent believed they could get through a full working day without distractions, leaving 65 per cent  needing to break up their day with breaks and social media checks.

54 per cent said that the breaks made the rest of their day more productive, and that their work actually benefited from relaxing their brain.

Chris Johnson of VoucherCloud commented on the findings:

“The modern workplace has an awful lot to distract us with, especially with our phones at our desks and tea to be drank. The times that we revealed in the survey, however, are still a surprise – perhaps we’re letting ourselves get distracted far too easily, with our productivity being dented as a result.

“Taking a break once in a while is by all means okay – in fact, many high profile business leaders recommend taking regular breaks in order to make you more productive. But, taking calls from your friend or partner and checking social media might be pushing your luck…”

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