the blog Synergy

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Quit Slacking!

According to a Web survey of 10,000 U.S. workers by AOL and, on average, a little more than 2 hours per day per employee are squandered on activities completely unrelated to work. Wow! This is twice the amount expected by HR executives and this does not include time taken for lunch!

Note: These numbers don’t account for time wasted on non-value-add activities, such as unproductive meetings, either.

Topping the list of slacker diversions is surfing the Internet. Almost one hour per day per worker is spent browsing the Web.

Peter Drucker said, “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” Ergo, it doesn't matter how good or efficient you are at surfing the Net on the job. It's useless.

Top Time-Wasting Activities:
  • Arriving late/Leaving early – 1%
  • Planning personal events – 1%
  • Making personal phone calls – 2.3%
  • Running errands off-premises – 3.1%
  • Spacing out – 3.9%
  • Conducting personal business – 6.8%
  • Socializing with co-workers – 23.4%
  • Surfing the Internet – 44.7%

This is truly amazing. Consider the number of workers laid-off since George Bush took office. I don’t have the statistics in hand, but I am confident that is has been more than a dozen, and even minus those twelve individuals, U.S. workers have time to surf the Web almost an hour each day. What does this tell us? It tells me that U.S. workers are bored. They are not challenged. They are not engaged. They may be disenfranchised! How could this be? This is not an indictment of the men and women in the trenches. This is an indictment of their leadership. Yes, I believe personal accountability is important, but I also believe it should start at the top.

I wonder what role the war in Iraq and the seemingly endless list of corporate scandals plays in this.

Source: Baseline Magazine


  • At 11:08 AM, Blogger Felix Gerena said…

    We should ask, who´s working here?

  • At 9:02 PM, Blogger Troy Worman said…

    Apparently, only one-in-four of us are working at any given point in time.

  • At 2:17 PM, Blogger Trevor Gay said…

    Great topic Troy - I suspect people do not feel accountable. Since I left the NHS and set up on my own the accountability is very clear. It starts and stops with me I suspect another reason is that people are just plain fed up with boring dull work and unable to feel liberated. Every way they turn there is some supervision. Let people free in my book.

  • At 3:47 PM, Blogger Rosa Say said…

    Another view Trevor, though I do agree with you that self-employment is very self-regulating: My first thought when reading Troy’s list was, no wonder managers continue to be paranoid, feel they must babysit, and micro-manage: they have just cause.

  • At 5:55 PM, Blogger Steve Sherlock said…

    late to this sting but fresh off a one-day HDI conference where I have been re-energized, I have 2 cents (or more) to add.

    One of the opening quotes on a slide titled "Galluping disengagement" summarized that 71% of the work force were either actively disengaged or passively disengaged, leaving 29% to do the work. No wonder it takes so long to get something accomplished! Sisyphus had it easy! He just fought against the gravity of the hill/mountain, the common engaged worker fights against twice his/her number.

    It has to come from the top. There is no excuse in my book. If the top sets up the environment to succeed (and allow for failures) then the workers should be empowered to succeed. If management refuses to allow the workers this freedom to work without micromanegment, they all will reap the benefits of success. If management lacks the confidence to do so, they will all reap the benefits of a downward spiral.


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