Saturday, September 17, 2005

All work and know play!

Jack is never a dull boy when it comes to goofing off on the job. A survey reveals that the average employee wastes atleast two hours of productive time at the workplace.

A survey reveals that the average worker admits to frittering away 2 hours a day, not counting lunch and other scheduled breaks: that’s twice the amount of time employers expect employees to waste during office hours. According to the survey, this extra unproductive time amounts to $759 billion (Rs 356730 crore approx) annually in salaries for which companies get no apparent benefit.

What makes employees squeeze out personal time from office hours? ‘‘It’s unrealistic to expect workers to be on the job for more than 8-12 hours non-stop since they have family problems and personal matters to attend to,’’ says Vivek Chandra Gupta, CEO, Balaji Consultants. Adds career counsellor and stress-management expert Priya Warrick: ‘‘Non-productive hours are not necessarily a waste of time as they de-stress and take you away from the pressure of work for some time.’’

Some workers link time-wasting to compensation. ‘‘Why should I work for longer hours if I’m not given a commensurate package? I shorten my working hours by using creative ways,’’ says Sudhir Gupta, an HDFC exec. Warrick describes this line of thinking as ‘quid pro quo’.‘‘An employee’s ability to increase his/her pay is limited, but the ability to decrease the number of hours he/she actually works isn’t as limited.’’

Besides, technology facilitates ‘creative wastage’ of time. ‘‘Working on a computer helps the employee conduct his own business — chatting, paying bills online, messaging, playing games
— unobtrusively,’’ points out Jyotsana, HR manager with an IT company. According to Bill Coleman, spokesperson for the survey: ‘‘Workers goof off partly because they put in more hours on the job. What’s more, personal and professional time is blending.’’

Top time-wasting activities

Surfing the Net (personal use): 44.7% Socialising with co-workers: 23.4% Conducting personal business: 6.8% Spacing out: 3.9% Running errands off-premises: 3.1% Making personal phone calls: 2.3% Applying for other jobs: 1.3% Planning personal events: 1.0% Arriving late/leaving early: 1.0% Others: 12.5%

Top time-wasting excuses

Don’t have enough work to do: 33.2% Underpaid for amount of work: 23.4% Co-workers distract me: 14.7% Not enough after-work time: 12.0% Others: 16.7%

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