Working Hard or Hardly Working? Statistics about Workplace Productivity

Here’s a fun little infographic on working ;)

Or should I say.. NOT working?

Via Good Feed

  • Lunardeimos

    Why are all the “by age” times wasted less than two hours when the claim is that the average is 3 hours? Is there a huge uptick under 26 y.o., or is the chart old and the math off?


      My only explanation would be:

      1. Depending on the task, young people who\’ve grown up with computers will work faster than someone like my mom who will take forever.
      2. The average time is 3 hours for all the ages, but if someone takes 6 hours to do something and another in another age takes 2 hours, and so on, the average will not be entirely accurate for each age group.
      3. Also by “waste” they mean that the older workers take longer to get something done, so technically they are ‘working’, but younger workers take less time and therefore, “waste” the rest of the average time.

  • Carly

    I work at a call center, and I got docked on a quality monitoring call for having a website open in the background. We are allowed to browse websites in between calls, and instead of minimizing the screen, I left the browser open and brought the work program to the front. I think that these numbers are interesting but wonder like many others how truly relevant they are. . . If the work is getting done, and there's nothing else to do, does it matter?

  • Vijay

    Reading this during my work hours. Darn!!

  • Elron

    What I found interesting was that there seems to be a clear effort to detail all the time we spend at work doing personal things, but no one seems interested in how that is offset by people doing work after hours from home. If we waste more time during the work day in recent years, is that simply because our jobs expect us to work online from home in the evening, carry a cell-phone at all times, and be available to respond to email at times outside normal working hours?

    Thats my main issue with a study like this … it makes workers feel "lazy" by not putting the full picture out there. We may well "waste" 3 hours a day while at work, but we also spend far more time connected to our work after hours than we ever have in the past. For these numbers to be accurate, they need to be analyzed against that trend of increasing electronic leashing to our offices.
    My recent post The Map of Non-Monogamy

  • Mike @debtdewd

    This is awesome! Looks like I am adding to those numbers right now! I'm fortunate enough to work for a very small company – where policies and procedures regarding internet use do not exist!
    My recent post Spend Summary – Jan 31 – Feb 6


      That is pretty lucky :)


      P.S. I tried to leave a comment on your blog but it wouldn\’t let me.

  • Vera

    Haha, I read this the first time at work too… and I instantly felt bad reading all those statistics. My excuse is that I had really boring tasks yesterday, and I couldn't help it, I just suddenly found myself here… just like that :o

    I'm not aware of my workplace banning any sites, but I suspect they do closely monitor what sites we visit. Though I didn't always visit strictly work related sites, no one's ever told me off for it. Then again, I'm not the only one in the company who does so :P

    And it would be really boring without youtube. I need music while working, and use Youtube as a sort of jukebox (honest, I don't actually watch the videos, but just make playlists). My previous workplace banned all streaming media and the ability to download mp3 files. Always had to stock up from home :P
    My recent post Deserting the Minority


      I find a lot of my work gets done pretty quickly, so if I am fast at something.. well I can\’t help it.

  • Clare

    "Interesting infograph!" said Clare, at her work desk.
    My recent post The Only Thing I Shred IsLettuce


      *laughing* You and everyone else.

  • ShoeGal

    The first time I read this I was actually at work. Great strip. My office does not ban sited such as FB but all computer activity which on the network is tracked. So you should only be on there if there is nothing else to do.
    My recent post Are winter tires worth it


      Sometimes I wonder if they really look at network usage. Or if they say they do.

  • Maureen

    OMG is that what other workers get up to while I,m slogging it out on my production job. I am lucky if I get time to draw breath during my 8.5 hour shift with 15mins for morning tea and 15mins for Lunch. The reason it is an 8.5 hr day is because we are not paid for these breaks.

    How the other half live eh !!!!!
    My recent post Day 6 No Spend February


      I think it depends on the line of work you are in. There are some days when the emails won\’t stop flooding in, there are meetings and calls. But other days, it is more relaxed.

      However, if you work in a plant or on the line, I can see that they NEVER get a break like that because the products have to be made and they NEED to be there to work 8 hours a day to get the stuff out.

  • Chantel

    Also….companies are beginning to utilize sites like facebook and chat, my company just started their own 'facebook' site. I think facebook/twitter/chat actually do more good for large corporations with multiple offices throughout the world. Net meetings and webinars eliminate travel/hotel costs. Also I think if companies actually incorporate their own intranet facebook/twitter/chat it would generate better understanding/teamwork between employees and even help to streamline processes and most certainly opens up opportunity for improvement. I hate picking up my phone when I can just send an email on outlook and I usually get a response within 20 minutes.

    On top of that, as long as you do your assignments and perform quality work, who's to judge?

    And to be honest, I hate these studies that shake their fingers at the 'average joe' workers…..what about the corporate bigwigs and financiers that get the big bucks?? (Huge salary discrepancy between 'them' and 'us')

    Who's to say they don't slack off every once and a while?!


      I agree! :)

      For me, it\’s just that you get your work done, and then that\’s it. You can do what you want AS LONG AS YOU GET YOUR WORK DONE! lol…

  • Chantel

    I think part of it is now with the advancement in technology….everything is much more automated and faster…..instead of 'printing and filing' everything is now 'point and click'. I'm an actuary….why should I spend extra time computing trend factors and composite loss-ratios on a calculator when I can simply upload data onto my trusty laptop program and do the work for me? Thus freeing up more of my time for more relevant work and projects (and yes…..surfing the net). My company doesn't allow facebook and other various sites either.

  • Jaime

    Well I work at a calling center, so for about 5-6 hours each day I'm at my desk making phone calls. I don't waste time because I can't. Oh and yeah they don't allow us internet access, the only net access I have is to the company's website so we can login and see our schedule, PTO available, etc. That's it.

    Even if I could get on YouTube during work hours, I wouldn't. A lot of companies track down how their employees use the internet, emails, etc. I don't really care since its not my computer and you are there to work, youtube and twitter is for off-hours.

  • Jacq @ SMRM

    It's not hard to be an over-achiever nowadays for just working 8 hours a day. Pre-internet I think people were much more productive because they took actual scheduled breaks and (sometimes) got out of the office as well. You didn't email your friends all day because there was no email, and nobody would have bugged their friends by calling them all day long.
    I was hopeful that something would come out of the ROWE movement (Results Only Work Environment) but I think we still have quite a ways to go before we get there. We're still tied into face time, which is b.s.
    I'd venture to guess that I've been in some work environments where some people spent more than 50% of their time surfing. They're often the ones that whine about not getting paid enough.
    My recent post The 4HWW vs YMOYL


      I\’d love a ROWE environment. I\’d like being able to work at any time during the day, as need be. Like even now, I answer some emails quickly at 6pm.

  • Jessica07

    Wow. Those stats are actually rather astonishing to me. It's really sad to see such a waste of time. Are they completely taking for granted the fact they HAVE a job? :( Then again, my view might be skewed, because in my previous jobs (except for part-time side jobs), I had to keep a record of how much time I spent on each task, in order to be able to bill clients. Maybe I would have wasted more time if I wouldn't have had to account for it all?
    My recent post Investing in Family- My Two Dads

  • sarah

    I am a big net user… I read now about 4 papers a day at work. And sometiems I blog at work. FB isn't banded but I don't use it… not worth the headach… But when your averaging 40 -50 calls a day and they call me I don't call ppl and most calls are less than 7min what am I to do with my time. I am not likely to get more 'responsablties" until april when they train us on a new product. I am climing the walls most days going crazy. Most of the time thought I read at my desk… 4 books last month allown, mostly ready at my desk. My manager knows but his hands are tied until the other heads kick into gear to change things. YFI i work for a Canadian bank at a contact cnetre.
    My recent post Saying No to RRSPs and Yes to TFSA

  • Quest

    Interesting! Our employer decided to get really tough on its employees a couple of years ago when it came to the internet. A sting operation ensued and email accounts were scrutinized. Those employees that spent all morning day in and day out forwarding jokes and questionable content were either written up, sent home unpaid while their activities were investigated or fired depending upon the severity of their activities. It was a scare tactic because so many people thought they were going to lose their jobs or be accused of sexual harrassment in the workplace. It all started when an employee opened her email while her boss was standing behind her and a joke porn video began to play ….. after that, internet time wasting plummeted and many of the employees no longer even so much as read their personal email at work let alone Facebook!
    My recent post Retirement At 107 Years of Age

  • Investing Newbie

    Isn't working one of the diminishing marginal return metrics? That means if humans actually could work for 8 hours a day, they get less and less productive with each passing hour? Imagine if the rate was 50%. Then the average worker would probably not be working by lunch anyway. I think the distractions are necessary. Once I get back from perusing blogs and what not, I work for at least another 2-3 hours before I need an update.

    At the end of the day, I think productivity shouldn't be measured by long I scroll up and down my excel worksheet, but by the quality of the product(s) I deliver.

  • Kevin

    My work bans Facebook and Fantasy sports. I don't care about facebook, but fantasy football sucks.

    However, I don't think it matters how many hours you waste at work if you get stuff done. Do your job, go a little above and beyond, and if that only takes 20 hours, then congratulations!
    My recent post Race to 1 Million – February Update

  • retirebyforty

    As long as you get your assignment done it's all good.
    When it's busy I've worked 70 hours/week. Usually it's not that busy and as long as I get my work done, I can comment on blogs and goof off a bit. :)

    My recent post Pay Off Your Debts Early

  • Red

    HAHA! That Pacman statistic cracked me up. Me and the HR manager definitely got our Pacman time in on Google. :-p
    My recent post A Little Inspiration

  • daisy

    I can’t believe people apply for other jobs at work!!!
    These statistics are crazy. I’m getting into the right field of work..


      I\’m not surprised :)

  • fromshoppingtosaving

    Lol I loved this comic. I'm at work right now…. -_- They do ban FB, Twitter, YouTube and any social networking site here though. AND game sites. Which may be a good thing so I don't waste MORE time haha!
    My recent post Lululemon or Hair


      I am not allowed on any of those sites either!

  • Sarah Fowler

    When you say older workers waste less time, I wonder how that’s calculated. Many older workers I know waste a lot of time by choosing to use an old analog way of doing various tasks rather than a more efficient digital way. It would be an interesting study.


      You know I thought about that too.

      Maybe they just don\’t type as fast, do things as quickly, write slower…

  • Layla

    Wow, that's a lot! It makes me feel a bit better about myself (I felt guilty for wasting some time on the internet but certainly not 3 hours!)


      3 hours is actually not a lot as it is spread out over a day.. :)

  • Emma

    I actually have to track every single minute of my day in quickbooks, so it doesn't really offer a whole lot of wiggle room for web surfing. Sure, I could lie about what I was doing, and build it into my time entries, but there's an expectation for how long something should take.

    Plus, I don't want to be billing clients for work that didn't happen.



  • Debt Sucks

    When we waste time due to lack of work, they start firing people.

    Actually, just lost 2 today, and losing another 2 on Monday. Sucks for them, but means more hours and bigger paychecks for me, though.
    My recent post VIDEO Net Worth Update- February 2011


      That is awesome :) I say hard work = more money is always a good thing.