Where Does the Day Go?

By Deb Perelman  |  Posted 2007-02-16

Its 2 p.m. and you have (theoretically) been at work for five hours, and you've gotten almost nothing checked off on your to-do list. How does this happen? Where did the time go?

Well, a survey released on Feb. 16 by the staffing firm OfficeTeam, says you know where the time went -- you squandered it yourself, reading ESPN.com, your buddy's blog and attending to innumerable personal tasks on "borrowed company time."

[... Whoa, it was like they were speaking right to me there, er, if you were to swap ESPN for Gawker, that is.]

Respondents said they spent an average of 36 minutes each day -- 3 hours each week -- attending to personal tasks while at the office. Worse yet, your bosses peg your time wasted at a whole 9 minutes higher, or over 3.5 hours each week. (Such nerve!)

Men were bigger time-wasters than women, according to the survey, or at least they were more likely to admit it, copping to spending 44 minutes each day on non-work related activities, while women owned up to just 29 minutes.

Younger employees were, unsurprisingly, the biggest offenders, with respondents between the ages of 18 and 34 spending an average of 45 minutes daily on personal pursuits. This number slid to 32 minutes daily for those between 35 and 64 and further, to 17 minutes, among workers 65 years and older.

Diane Domeyer, executive director of OfficeTeam, says workplaces understand that there are so many hours in the day that employees can meet job requirements and personal obligations, and that many of them are even trying to help.

"In fact, some businesses have responded by providing staff with on-site daycare or concierge-type services such as dry cleaning and personal shopping," Domeyer said.

This is a highly laudable effort on behalf of employers to help accommodate their employees' need for work-life balance; that is until "finding out what Britney did last night" makes it on that list. And it looks likely that shameless squandering of company hours to seek this information won't be stopping anytime soon.

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