How Do You Waste Time at the Office?

You naturally might think that employees surf the web or use other forms of social media to combat boredom or to get out of working (which they do)  but how about these weird ones… taking a sponge bath or perhaps looking for a mail order bride?

CareerBuilder has released a new survey showing us how we kill time at work, including some of the most bizarre ways we do it.

Here’s How Employees Kill Time

In CareerBuilder’s survey, they found that cell phones, using the internet, and talkative co-workers were the biggest distractors of work.


Here are the top 10 productivity killers cited by employers:

  1. Cell phones/texting: 52 percent
  2. The Internet: 44 percent
  3. Gossip: 37 percent
  4. Social media: 36 percent
  5. Email: 31 percent
  6. Co-workers dropping by: 27 percent
  7. Meetings: 26 percent
  8. Smoke breaks/snack breaks: 27 percent
  9. Noisy co-workers: 17 percent
  10. Sitting in a cubicle: 10 percent

And, here’s the list of the outlandish non-work activities done on the job 

Employers were also asked to divulge the most bizarre or most memorable things they have found an employee doing when they should have been working.

Some of the more notable answers included:

  • Employee was taking a sponge bath in the bathroom sink.
  • Employee was trying to hypnotize other employees to stop their smoking habits. hypnotist-29832_640
  • Employee was visiting a tanning bed in lieu of making deliveries.tanning-bed-165167_640
  • Employee was looking for a mail order bride.
  • Employee was playing a video game on their cell phone while sitting in a bathroom stall.
  • Employee was drinking vodka while watching Netflix.
  • Employee was sabotaging another employee’s car tires.
  • Employee was sleeping on the CEO’s couch.
  • Employee was writing negative posts about the company on social
  • Employee was sending inappropriate pictures to other employees.
  • Employee was searching Google images for “cute kittens.”kittens-555822_640
  • Employee was making a model plane.
  • Employee was flying drones around the office.
  • Employee was printing pictures of animals, naming them after employees and hanging them in the work area.

Distractions Have Consequences

With so many interruptions, it can be surprising that the real work gets done. Productivity killers can lead to negative consequences for the organization, including:

  • Compromised quality of work: 45 percent
  • Lower morale because other workers have to pick up the slack: 30 percent
  • Negative impact of boss/employee relationship: 25 percent
  • Missed deadlines: 24 percent
  • Loss in revenue: 21 percent

Stopping the Productivity Killers

Nearly 3 in 4 employers (74 percent) have taken at least one step to mitigate productivity killers, such as blocking certain Internet sites (33 percent) and banning personal calls/cell phone use (23 percent).

Other efforts to mitigate productivity killers include:

  • Scheduled lunch and break times: 21 percent
  • Monitor emails and Internet use: 21 percent
  • Limit meetings: 16 percent
  • Allow people to telecommute: 13 percent
  • Have an open space layout instead of cubicles: 12 percentgirl-429964_640

Rosemary Haefner, Chief Human Resources Officer of CareerBuilder said,“Between the Internet, cell phones and co-workers, there are so many stimulants in today’s workplace, it’s easy to see how employees get sidetracked.”

She further said, “The good news is, taking breaks from work throughout the day can actually be good for productivity, enabling the mind to take a break from the job at hand and re-energize you. The trick is finding the right (work-appropriate) activities that promote – rather than deplete – energy.”

Haefner offers the following tips for productive procrastination.

Four Ways to Turn Procrastination Into Productivity

  1. Schedule “play” breaks. Give yourself permission to take a break, and set a definite ending time. Not only will you have something to look forward to after you’ve worked hard, you will also know when it’s time to get back to work.
  2. Surround yourself with productive people. Much like laughter, productivity can be infectious. Watching how others make themselves productive can inspire us to act similarly.
  3. Make yourself accountable to your (social) network. Can’t seem to motivate yourself to finish (or start) a big project? Post on your Facebook wall that you will do it. Making yourself publicly accountable will make you more likely to actually do something.
  4. Just walk away (literally). Can’t seem to concentrate? Go for a 10- or 20-minute walk. Research shows that a few minutes of light exercise can rejuvenate the brain and lead to sharper cognitive function.


Fun for a Friday

What about you?  What bizarre things have you seen a co-worker do to kill time?

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