How productive are we during the day?
It is impossible to maintain the same level of productivity all day long, five days a week. But apparently, we spend more time slacking off on the job than we thought we did. The minutes spend checking our email, sending a text or making an intricate lunch actually add up. And they add up fast.
No one can be on top of their game all the time but a lot of people spend more time being unproductive during work hours than you’d expect. Especially since they’re being paid for that ‘unproductivity’. Research by the American Time Use Survey in 2019 showed that employees spend around fifty minutes a day on not doing their job. Half of this time is spend on food (f.e. preparing or eating food), the other half is spend on spare time activities.
The amount of minutes spend on things that are not part of your job description varies. It is proven that the more hours you work, the more hours you spend slacking off. When you work 42 hours or more, the amount of wasted minutes will stabilize.
Whether slacking off is really that bad is debatable; taking regular breaks is good for your mind and your creativity. This means that not bringing your A game might have some benefits for your overall performance. In Japan, taking a nap during work hours is part of work culture. This is called ‘Inemuri’ and even though sleeping at your desk is an indication of sleep depravation, the Japanese give it a positive spin too. If you sleep on the job, you are dedicated to your work. No matter how tired you are, you showed up anyway.
With the pandemic, a lot of people have been working from home and so it might be that since 2019, when the research was first conducted, things have changed. And maybe not in a good way. More recent research by Toluna showed that a fifth of Netflix users admitted to watching Netflix when they should have been working.
Getting paid to watch our favorite shows is a job we could get behind!