Do you have hard-working employees – or a bunch of goof offs?

For the purposes of this blog I’m defining a hard-working employee as one who works more hours than required, and a goof off as one who intentionally wastes time. To see which type reigns, I took a look at a couple of recent studies that give a seemingly conflicting snapshot of worker productivity.

When I read this CNN Money study, I was impressed by how productive U.S. workers are, working an average of 47 hours per week, or almost a full 8-hour day more than required.

But then I found this salary.com survey on how much time is wasted each day.  It reported that 88% of employees say that they waste an average of 68 minutes a day.  If you multiply that 68 minutes by the 5 days in a typical workweek, it comes to about 5½ hours per week. 

If you then take the 47 hours from the first study, and subtract the 5½ hours from the second one, you wind up with about an hour and a half of extra work per week.  I’m not so impressed anymore. 

Having said that, many health professionals think 40 hours is about right, as working too many extra hours can actually decrease productivity and cause stress, burnout and health problems. 

So are your employees working hard – or hardly working?  The answer could be both; they work hard and take some breaks along the way, which may be the healthy, technology-infused, 21st-century version of the typical work week.

Frank Kenna III
May 5, 2015

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