The American National Bureau of Economic Research recently conducted a study that indicates that working long working hours is not actually productive.  This Survey found that people spend 50 minutes per day on non-work-related activities.

Another study completed by Paychex with 2,000 full-time employees in a variety of industries across the U.S, indicated that approximately one in every 10, middle and upper managers wastes at least three or more hours per work day.

Below is a list of  some of the most popular unproductive workplace activities:

  1. Reading news websites – 1 hour 5 min
  2. Checking social media – 44 min
  3. Discussing non-work-related things with coworkers – 40 min
  4. Searching for new jobs – 26 min
  5. Taking smoke breaks – 23 min
  6. Making calls to partners/ friends – 18 min
  7. Making hot drinks – 17 min
  8. Texting or instant messaging – 14 min
  9. Eating snacks – 8 min
  10. Making food in office – 7 min

Why are employers going with the eight hour work day? Who decided eight hours was best?  It originated by simply dividing the 24 hours in the day to 8 hours of work, 8 hours of recreation and 8 hours of rest.   There was no real scientific evidence to suggest that that this is the most productive level of hours.

We would suggest an outcomes approach where people are paid for the outcomes employees complete. This would allow employees to take the breaks they might need to be the most productive or break work in to chunks that can be focused and efficient.  It also increases autonomy which we know is linked to engagement and creates better work life balance which we know is the way of the future for the next generation of workers.  Like it or not either we shift our thinking or we don’t compete.