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How We Waste Time at Work

How We Waste Time at Work

Annie Tucker Morgan | Divine Caroline

Stuck in a Rut

Some employers might be shocked to realize that their worker bees aren’t buzzing quite as busily as they should be, but these yearly Salary.com studies also point the finger at the underserved companies themselves for not providing their staffs with enough incentive to focus on the tasks at hand. In 2008, 46 percent of the Salary.com respondents indicated that professional dissatisfaction was driving them to waste time at work, 34 percent felt underpaid, 24 percent believed they didn’t have sufficient deadlines or incentives to perform, 19 percent claimed their workdays were too long, and 18 percent accused coworkers and friends of distracting them during business hours.

All of these factors paint a grim picture of life in the average American workplace—and when employees become resentful, they rebel in small but insidious ways against the institutions that they believe are neglecting or overworking them. For the employers, the cumulative damage inefficient, embittered workers cause can be staggering—according to the AOL/Salary.com study in 2005, the 2.09 average hours wasted in the American workplace cost companies $759 billion in wages for which they received no return on investment. And for the employees, using work hours to engage in non-work-related pursuits can be self-defeating; time that could be spent getting ahead on projects or acquiring new skills to work toward a promotion is too often thrown away on shopping online, buying groceries, or talking to friends on the phone.

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