Employees Spend Less Than 40% of Their Day Doing Productive Work, Survey Says
Turns out it's not actual work that's killing you — it's all the meaningless stuff in between. In spite of the amount of time spent at work — not to mention getting there, a whole other nightmare — you might not be getting a ton done. That is, if Workfront's latest report is anything to go by. They conducted a survey and found that the amount of time employees spend actually working is low. Really low.
According to this year's U.S. State of Enterprise Work Report, less than 40 per cent of a total work day is earmarked for, well, work. But don't blame the staffers. Sure, they might take a couple minutes to settle in, chatting about Baldwin's latest antics on SNL with co-workers or watching pandas on YouTube, but that's not the problem. The real issues, says the survey, are pointless meetings and the crap that's assigned for the sake of keeping busy — but isn't actually work at all.
Workfront surveyed 606 employees who work at large companies and while the number of hours that people work has gone up, productivity has fallen significantly. In 2015, employees worked an average of 44.3 hours per week, 46 per cent of which was spent actually working. In 2016, those same people clocked in an average of 45.1 hours per week but their productivity number dropped to 39 per cent.
Those who took part in the survey estimated they spend 21 per cent of their time at work in meetings, describing nearly half of those meetings as "wasteful." Emails are also considered annoying, with 16 per cent of their time being sucked by either composing or replying to them. Another complaint are the administrative tasks, which eat up another 11 per cent. Damn. It's no wonder people are struggling to find time to hunker down and do their job.
And that's the dream. A quarter of respondents said they'd like to have "uninterrupted blocks of time" in which to work, with 23 per cent adding they want "more efficient work processes." Despite the interruptions, however, most workers don't actually feel unproductive, with a suprising 92 per cent of the 606 participants agreeing with the statement "I feel I'm productive at my job."
Professional burnout is a real thing and it affects people in different ways. The 558 respondents may feel productive but just think of much more effective they could be without the endless meetings. The emails, though, those are never going to end. But raise your hand if you'd rather have an email outlining the details of a meeting rather than the meeting itself. As long as you'd be held accountable for taking it all in, think of the time and energy that could be saved there. Hmm, we might be on to something...
Denette Wilford is a writer dabbling in the worlds of lifestyle, sports and entertainment. Her work has appeared in Huffington Post Canada, The Loop, The TV Junkies, 24 Hours Toronto and TV Guide Canada. Follow her on Twitter @DenetteWilford