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Average UK office worker only productive for 2 hours & 53 minutes a day

New research from the UK’s largest money saving brand has revealed that the average UK office worker is only productive for 2 hours and 53 minutes out of the working day with social media and trawling news websites labelled as the main distractions for workers.

It seems that the average office worker spends a considerable amount of time procrastinating during their working day, as less than 3 hours is actually spent working productively according to the results of a study.

The study, conducted by, polled 1,989 UK office workers all aged over 18 as part of research into the online habits and productivity of workers across the nation. All respondents currently worked full-time in an office role.

Respondents were initially asked, & lsquo;Do you consider yourself to be productive throughout the entire working day?’ to which the majority, 79% admitted that & lsquo;no’ they weren’t. Just a fifth, 21%, believed that & lsquo;yes’ they were productive throughout the day.

The study asked then asked respondents, & lsquo;If you had to state a figure, how long do you think you spend productively working during work hours on a daily basis?’ The results of this revealed the average answer to be & lsquo;2 hours and 53 minutes’ of actual work across all respondents. 

The study then looked at the activities done instead of work, asking, & lsquo;What are you guilty of spending time doing during the working day rather than working productively?’ and asked respondents to select from a list of potential options, which revealed the following top ten distractions. Respondents were allowed to select more than one option if more than one applied:

1.       Checking social media – 47%

2.       Reading news websites – 45%

3.       Discussing out of work activities with colleagues – 38%

4.       Making hot drinks – 31%

5.       Smoking breaks – 28%

6.       Text/instant messaging – 27%

7.       Eating snacks – 25%

8.       Making food in office – 24%

9.       Making calls to partner/ friends- 24%

10.   Searching for new jobs – 19%

Respondents who admitted that they were guilty of & lsquo;at work distractions’ were asked how long they believed they spent on each one during the course of a working day, which revealed the following averages when taken from all respondents:

1.       Checking social media – 44 minutes (spent doing this during working day)

2.       Reading news websites – 1 hour 5 minutes

3.       Discussing out of work activities with colleagues – 40 minutes

4.       Making hot drinks – 17 minutes

5.       Smoking breaks – 23 minutes

6.       Text/instant messaging – 14 minutes

7.       Eating snacks – 8 minutes

8.       Making food in office– 7 minutes

9.       Making calls to partner/ friends – 18 minutes

10.   Searching for new jobs- 26 minutes

Respondents were then asked, & lsquo;Do you think that you could get through the working day without partaking in any distractions?’ to which only 35% admitted that & lsquo;yes’ they could. The remaining 65% of respondents believed that & lsquo;no’ they couldn’t. Of these, 54% explained that they made the working day & lsquo;more bearable’, so felt their productivity for the rest of the working day & lsquo;benefited from the intermittent breaks’.

Matthew Wood of vouchercloud commented, “I think the majority of us are guilty of procrastination to some extent or other, but to the point that less than 3 hours a day is spent actually working? That’s a remarkable figure! No one likes a draconian office, but maybe some employers should be thinking about toughening up the rules based on this.”

He added, “People might be able to justify this with the fact that they still get their necessary work done. But 3 hours’ work a day means a 3 day week might be in order! Or perhaps we’ll be working 9-12 from now on? It’s got quite a nice ring to it. However I’m sure if that was the case, and the week was condensed, the natural time waster in all of us would still find a way to come to the fore."


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