How much do you actually work?

A study found that the longer people spent at work on a regular basis, the more of that time they spent goofing off.

Very few office workers actually work the full eight hours they spend at their desks. There are the coffee breaks, the water cooler chats, the texts and emails that just have to be dealt with immediately, and, of course, the cat videos that must be watched — and shared. In between, we might get some work done.

But how much slacking off at work is normal? At least half an hour a day, according to a working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research that lends credence to the notion that long working hours aren’t actually very productive. At least, workers report spending 34 minutes of company time a day on non-work activities, on average. When the researchers axed the workers who claimed they really did not deviate from work-related tasks at any point during the day—clearly an unreliable sample population—the average reported messing-around time jumped to 50 minutes a day. So if you’re off-task for an hour a day, chances are your co-workers are too.

The data comes from the American Time Use Survey, a diary-based study of how people spend their time, so those self-reported numbers probably aren’t precise. Surely people did not pause to record every minute they spent G-chatting throughout the day. But it’s a decent approximation.

Fewer hours, better output

And it’s pretty good fodder for the notion that if you want to get more done, you should actually reduce the hours you spend at work. The study found that the longer people spent at work on a regular basis, the more of that time they spent goofing off.

Some businesses are putting this idea into practice. Recently, some Swedish companies adopted a six-hour workday as a way to give their employees more work-life balance while also increasing the amount of time they spent on-task.

Instead of having employees sit at their desks for a full eight hours — during which they’re probably taking breaks to watch cat videos at least part of the time — these companies ask their employees to come in for fewer hours, but stay off social media and put off personal phone calls and emails during that shorter stretch. “It’s difficult to concentrate at work for eight hours, but with six hours you can be more focused and get things done more quickly,” one business owner explained to the BBC in November.

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( Source : deccan chronicle )
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