How many “unemployed” people do you have on your payroll?

A new survey from America Online (AOL) and found that the average American worker wastes 2 hours and 5 minutes a day, which cumulatively adds up to $759 billion a year in lost productivity.

Not surprisingly, the top time waster was Web surfing, with workplace socializing coming in at number two. "Applying for other jobs" came seventh place on the list.

The survey solicited reasons as to why employees wasted time. The most popular reason was not having enough to do while not being paid enough came in second place. In this regard the sticker axiom, "They pretend to pay me and I pretend to work," comes to mind.

Top time-wasting activities include:

  1. Personal Internet Use including emailing
  2. Socializing with co-workers
  3. Conducting personal business
  4. Spacing out
  5. Running errands

Top reasons for wasting time:

  1. Don’t have enough work to do
  2. Underpaid for the work I do
  3. Co-workers distract me
  4. Not enough evening or weekend time
  5. Other

This amount of "paid leave" shouldn’t catch employers completely off-guard.  Employers do expect workers to waste 1 hour a day plus lunch and actually calculate that into their salary structure.  But workers say they actually waste 2-plus hours a day…and this doesn’t include the time they believe they spend in pointless meetings or carrying out inane requests from their boss(es) or waiting for a response from customer service, shipping, vendors, co-workers or their bosses.  Add to this the projects and tasks that are delayed or messed up as a result of turnover, vacations, and vacancies, not to mention sheer stupidity and lack of motivation.

The top time-wasting industries were:

  1. Insurance workers – 2.5 hours wasted per day
  2. Public sector workers – 2.4 hours
  3. Research and development – 2.3 hours
  4. Education – 2.2 hours
  5. Software and Internet – 2.2 hours

Source: America Online,, Success Performance Solutions


Ira S Wolfe


  1. Maria Luminoso April 2, 2006 at 11:49 am -

    We currently have a tremoundous amount a jobs available in Florida. The Palm Beach, Broward, Miami Areas. If anyone need help please E-mailme at or just call 954-675-8099.

  2. Reality Check November 6, 2005 at 3:35 pm -

    …and of course trying to learn by doing on the job, esp. woring smarter rather than harder. Real time waster of loser who are to lazy to do what they are supposed to do the way they are supposed to do it.