For the chronically bored, the digital age and the plethora of distractions it provides may be the best thing since sliced bread. Can’t concentrate? Look at gifs for five hours — that’ll help, surely.
But fret not, employers of America. Your workforce isn’t actually fiddling away all their time on social media, YouTube, or (heaven forbid) Netflix. When it comes to wasting time, we’re actually not that creative. In fact, according to a recent survey conducted by Bamboo HR, technological innovations haven’t really affected the way in which we steal time from our jobs. Really, we’re just making lots of water cooler breaks.
The survey, which involved over 1,000 U.S.-based full-time workers over the age of 18, found that the most popular non-work activity among respondents was simply taking breaks to the office kitchen, water cooler, or break room. As it turns out, we’re just restless souls constantly on the prowl for food.
The second most popular was taking trips to the bathroom, and third was participating in small talk and/or gossip with coworkers (open seating plans are dangerous indeed). Communicating with family members via phone, email, text, and social media represented only the fourth most popular time-waster at work.
Rounding out the top eight non-work related activities are running personal errands or shopping online, communicating with friends, using social media for personal purposes, and watching television (what a life).
But the most interesting finding of all from Bamboo HR’s data is the finding that “across the board, upper management and executives spend more time participating in each of these activities than lower-level employees (entry-level, intermediate, and middle management).” So if you’re wasting time, chances are your boss is, too.
While using social media or being online doesn’t seem to take up too much of people’s time, it is still considered the most hindering of distractions in terms of productivity. But apparently, that doesn’t stop anyone from indulging every once in a while. The survey showed that 68 percent of employees considered that using social media for personal, non-work-related reasons each day as a break/distraction from work tasks was appropriate, although there were varying opinions on how long constituted “appropriate.”
So there you have it, friends. When it comes to not doing your work, the water cooler still reigns supreme. Check out the full findings with this BambooHR Workplace Distractions Infographic.