By George Anderson
A survey conducted by America Online and Salary.com says the average worker in the U.S. is a slacker. Results from about 10,000 respondents to the survey found the typical employee spends more than two hours a day on the job not working, and that doesn’t include lunch.
Not all of the time spent not working is necessarily unproductive, according to Bill Coleman, senior vice president at Salary.com. The two most popular ways of not working on the job include using the Internet and socializing with fellow employees. These activities, when channeled correctly, can generate new ideas for doing business.
Still, the two hours not spent in pursuit of assigned tasks is twice what employers expect from their workers, said Mr. Coleman.
In addition to Internet usage and socializing with fellow employees, the study lists conducting personal business, including running errands and making personal phone calls, as well as the ever-popular spacing out/daydreaming, as the reasons most give for doing something other than working while on the job.
As for why workers are not working on the job, roughly one-third say they don’t have enough work to do. Nearly one in four say they are intentionally less productive than they could be because they feel they are being underpaid.
The study did not track the amount of time employees spend working while on their personal time.
Moderator’s Comment: What is your analysis of the AOL/Salary.com survey on how employees spend their time at work? What is your assessment of the productivity
of retail workers in all facets of the business (store, headquarters, etc.)?
Our experience is that most retail employees (at store-level anyway) who spend more time idling than they should often do so because of their view that
they are not getting paid enough to do what’s being asked of them.
While not about retailing, James C. Scott’s Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance (Yale University Press, 1985) speaks to what
the author calls the “constant struggle between the peasantry and those who seek to extract labor, food, taxes, rents, and interest from them.”
“Most forms of this struggle,” writes Mr. Scott, “stop well short of outright collective defiance.” Instead, the author cites “the ordinary weapons of relatively
powerless groups” as the means by which they fight back. Among these are “foot dragging, dissimulation, false compliance, pilfering, feigned ignorance, slander, arson, sabotage,
and so on.”
Mr. Scott believes that, throughout history, these forms of resistance “represent a form of individual self-help.” –
George Anderson – Moderator
- Wasted Time At Work Costing Companies Billions – AOL/Salary.com
- Survey: Mo. is No. 1 in slacking at work
– The Associated Press/Chicago Tribune