Study Reveals Top Ten Productivity Killers at Work

Chicago — June 12

What causes workers to waste the most time at the office? New research from

CareerBuilder identifies behaviors that employers say are the biggest productivity killers in the workplace. The study also highlights some of the strangest things employers have caught employees doing while on the clock.

The national survey was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder from Feb. 10 to March 4. It included a sample of 2,138 hiring managers and human resource professionals and a sample of 3,022 full-time, private sector workers across industries and company sizes.

Not surprisingly, personal use of technology is one of the leading culprits behind unproductive activity at work. About 24 percent of workers admitted that during a typical workday they will spend at least one hour a day on personal calls, emails or texts. Twenty-one percent estimate that they spend one hour or more during a typical workday searching the Internet for non-work-related information.

Behaviors of co-workers, meetings and other factors are also creating obstacles to maximizing performance. When asked what they consider to be the primary productivity stoppers in the workplace, employers pointed to:

• Cell phone/texting — 50 percent
• Gossip — 42 percent
• The Internet — 39 percent
• Social media — 38 percent
• Snack breaks or smoke breaks — 27 percent
• Noisy co-workers — 24 percent
• Meetings — 23 percent
• Email — 23 percent
• Co-workers dropping by — 23 percent
• Co-workers putting calls on speaker phone — 10 percent

Employers also shared real-life examples of some of the more unusual things they’ve seen employees doing when they should have been busy working:

• Employee was blowing bubbles in sub-zero weather to see if the bubbles would freeze and break
• A married employee was looking at a dating website and then denied it while it was still up on his computer screen
• Employee was caring for her pet bird that she smuggled into work
• Employee was shaving her legs in the women’s restroom
• Employee was laying under boxes to scare people
• Employees were having a wrestling match
• Employee was sleeping, but claimed he was praying
• Employee was taking selfies in the bathroom
• Employee was changing clothes in a cubicle
• Employee was printing off a book from the Internet
• Employee was warming her bare feet under the bathroom hand dryer

Moreover, nearly 73 percent of employers have implemented some measures to mitigate productivity killers at work. Tactics include:

• Blocking certain Internet sites at work — 36 percent
• Prohibiting personal calls or personal use of cell phones — 25 percent
• Monitoring emails and Internet usage — 22 percent
• Scheduling lunch and break times — 19 percent
• Allowing people to telecommute — 14 percent
• Implementing an open space layout instead of cubicles — 13 percent
• Limiting meetings — 12 percent
• Restricting use of speaker phones if not in an office — 11 percent

Source: CareerBuilder