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Survey shows how online distractions eat into the working week


Survey shows how online distractions eat into the working week

A study has found that various forms of procrastination, most of which involve the internet and social media, are using up a considerable portion of the working week in offices.

Conducted by CV-Library, the study found that nearly a quarter of workers (23.4%) say they spend as much as 21 hours a month simply finding something else to do apart from their work. For people working a seven-hour day (between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm with an hour-long lunch break), this equates to three full days every month spent doing nothing productive, and around seven weeks of the year. What’s more, nearly two thirds (62%) of the employees quizzed believe that occasional procrastination is their right.

The majority of workplace timewasting to which respondents owned up were based around the urge to use the internet to do something other than their job. The most common form of dilly-dallying was texting or using messaging apps, to which 42% admitted.

Using social media is a diversion that over a quarter (25.2%) fall foul to, and a similar number (23.1%) confess to accessing and responding to personal emails while they should be working. The online shopping bug bites 17.2% of us during the working day, while 10.1% find the somewhat more old-fashioned lure of speaking to friends and family on the phone too tempting to resist in the office.

Not surprisingly, boredom is the main reason cited for this behaviour, with 34.1% giving this excuse. Just under a quarter (23.3%) say it gives them a break from a job they don’t enjoy, and 22% argue that their job doesn’t give them enough to do.

As we mentioned during Fight Procrastination Day earlier this month, the internet can be both distracting and addictive, and while almost all office jobs these days are aided by internet usage, its availability can be a hindrance to those who are too weak-willed or easily distracted to use it to focus entirely on their work.

These figures might well tempt business owners to monitor their employees’ internet use, and another recent survey shows that most employees believe their bosses are already doing this, with some even suspecting their activity is kept tabs on outside of work. This has led the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to call for employees to be consulted if such surveillance is taking place.

Rather than snoop on their employees, however, CV-Library has suggested businesses should ensure they are keeping staff motivated and offer them opportunities to develop.

John Murray

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