Wasting Time At Workplace Statistics By Gender, Distracting Activity, Use of Social Media, Age And Industries

Maitrayee Dey
Written by
Maitrayee Dey

Updated · May 31, 2024

Aruna Madrekar
Edited by
Aruna Madrekar


Wasting Time At Workplace Statistics By Gender, Distracting Activity, Use of Social Media, Age And Industries


Wasting Time At Workplace Statistics: Let’s face it—we’ve all been there. You glance at the clock, willing the hands to move faster, and suddenly, that looming deadline doesn’t feel so urgent. The number of work time wasters has been staggering in recent years. A whopping 89% of workers admit to wasting time at work every single day—that’s the vast majority!

But how common is wasting time at work, and what kind of impact does it have? Statistics tell a surprising story about how much time is lost and why it happens.

Editor’s Choice

  • According to Wasting Time At Workplace Statistics, each employee wastes 2.9 hours per day within an overall 8-hour working cycle in the United States.
  • Around 121 times employees check their emails on a regular basis in 2024.
  • During work time, almost 7.5 hours have been spent browsing social media per week.
  • Time wastage at workplaces in the United States resulted in an average annual loss of $1.7 million.
  • In meeting sessions, 91% of employees claimed that they were not attentive but daydreaming.
  • Wasting Time at Workplace Statistics further states that nearly 31% of employees waste a minimum of 30 minutes to 1 hour each workday.
  • Conversely, approximately 6% of employees waste around 3 Hours at the Workplace each day.
  • In the Workplace, 4% of employees waste at least 4 hours per day in 2024.
  • At workplaces, the main reason for wasting time is inefficient processes.
  • 47% of employees claim that meetings are the main cause of time wastage.

General Wasting Time At Workplace Statistics

  • Employees spent almost 21.5 hours in the Workplace within a week and, on average, attended 62 monthly meetings.
  • On pointless meetings, workplace professionals spend around 13 days annually or 2 hours per week.
  • Some companies have blocked many websites for employees, but there is still a weekly time wastage of around 21 hours on other different online sites.
  • To increase productivity, almost 53% of employees have claimed that they prefer to take short breaks from their work by doing other activities.
  • The least productive day for employees was Friday, which was mostly between 3 PM and 5 PM in almost every Workplace.
  • During work time, approximately 90.5% of employees have used their work time effectively.
  • As of 2024, around 11% of women and 5% of men have used social media for 45 minutes or 1 hour.

Pervasive Procrastination: How Much Time Is Wasted?

On average, this translates to employees frittering away 2.9 hours out of an 8-hour workday on non-work activities. Think about it – that’s nearly a third of your paid time! Broken down further, some studies show that

  • 31% of workers waste at least an hour every day.
  • A not-so-insignificant 6% waste a whopping 3 hours daily.

These figures paint a clear picture: wasting time is a widespread issue that eats significantly into productivity.

The Culprits Behind The Clock-Watching

So, what exactly are we doing with all this wasted time? Here are some of the biggest culprits:

  • Digital Distractions: The internet beckons! A staggering 64% of employees confess to visiting unrelated websites throughout the workday. Social media, news sites, and online shopping are all common time-sinks.
  • Meetings Mishaps: Meetings are a necessary evil, but are they always efficient? A whopping 57% of employees feel meetings could have been emails, resulting in wasted time and lost focus.
  • Chatterbox Colleagues: We all enjoy chatting with coworkers, but it can snowball. Nearly 40% of employees admit to getting sidetracked by casual conversations with colleagues, impacting their productivity.
  • Multitasking Mayhem: While it might feel productive, multitasking often backfires. Instead of focusing on one task at a time, frequent interruptions and context switching can lead to wasted time and errors.
  • Boredom Blues: Believe it or not, some employees waste time because they’re unengaged or unchallenged by their work. Around 20% of employees admit to wasting time due to boredom or a lack of interest in their jobs.

Employees Shares By Distracting Activity

  • According to Wasting Time At Workplace Statistics, 47% of employees waste time at work by surfing the Internet.
  • Meanwhile, the next top distracting activities in workplaces are social media, which 45% of employees use, and texting, which is 44%.
  • Furthermore, the percentage of employees who participated in distracting activities in 2024 includes bathroom breaks (39%), socializing with coworkers (27%), Snack breaks (25%), Other coworkers’/office noise (25%), Coffee breaks (19%), Reading/drawing (16%), and Household activities (14%).
  • The other most common distractions shared in 2023 are the Internet (41%), gossip (39%), social media (37%), co-working dropping by (27%), emails (26%), meetings (24%), noisy coworkers (20%), and sitting in a cubicle (9%).

Reasons For Using Social Media Within The Workplace

  • Social media is the most effective reason behind time wastage in the Workplace in 2024, and 34% of employees claimed that social media acts as a mental break during work hours.
  • 27% of employees used social media to stay in touch with their loved ones.
  • Furthermore, other reasons for using social media are that 24% of employees network professionally, and 20% use it for work-related problem-solving.

By Social Network And Gender

  • As of 2024, Facebook is the main social media network site in the Workplace, and 75% of females and 63% of males use it.
  • Instagram was the second most popular social media network in the Workplace, used by 43% of females and 31% of males.
  • On the other hand, based on male and female shares, the usage of different social networking sites within workplaces is followed by Twitter (24% and 21%), LinkedIn (29% and 24%), Pinterest (15% and 42%), Snapchat (24% and 24%), Youtube (78% and 68%), TikTok (56% and 44%), Reddit (15% and 8%), and (21% and 19%), respectively.

Gossip At Workplace Statistics By Generation

Gossip At Workplace Statistics By Generation(Source: jobera.com)

  • Wasting Time At Workplace Statistics show that in 2024, American employees spend almost 40 minutes weekly only gossiping.
  • The major topic of gossiping is related to social topics concerning other people, which made up 66% of employees.
  • Gossing at the Workplace was made up of 79% of women and 55% of men.
  • The top generation users share that those who are likely to gossip at the Workplace are Millennials (81%), Gen Xers (70%), and Baby Boomers (58%).

Lost Minutes Working Habits Statistics

Lost Minutes Working Habits Statistics(Source: paychex.com)

  • As of 2023, the average working hours spent per workday by millennials are around 6 to 8 hours, followed by Generation X (6 to 8 hours) and Baby Boomers (8 to 10 hours).
  • 68% of Baby Boomers spent less than 1 hour wasting time at work, 46% (Gen X), and 40% (Millennials).
  • Wasting time by surfing the Internet: Millennials (46%), Gen X (45%), and Baby Boomers (34%).
  • Generation X (21%), Millennials (19%), and Baby Boomers (19%) waste time because they are easily distracted.
  • Find time-wasting measures effective: Gen X (25%), Millennials (22%), and Baby Boomers (16%).
  • Such as the time-waste reduction measures for Baby Boomers (35%), Gen X (27%), and Millennials (27%).

By Wasted Time At Meetings

  • Meetings are the main cause of time wastage at the Workplace, as 47% of employees claimed in 2024.
  • In the United States, workplaces waste an average of $37 billion annually on unnecessary meetings.
  • The average employee is estimated to waste almost 21.5 hours in meetings per week, and professionals spend almost 45 to 50 hours per week.
  • Meanwhile, on a monthly basis, each employee is expected to attend almost 62 meetings per year.
  • Wasting Time At Workplace Statistics explained that an average of 23 hours was spent on meetings by executives.
  • As of 2023, nearly 71% of senior executives have suggested that meetings remained Unproductive and inefficient.
  • In unproductive meetings, companies with an average of 50 employees have spent an average of $18,000 annually.
  • Total time spent on meetings per week by employees shared were less than 4 hours (46%), 4 to 12 hours (37%), 12 to 20 hours (11%), and 20 hours and above (4.73%).

Cost Of Wasted Time Statistics In Meetings

Cost Of Wasted Time Statistics In Meetings(Source: assets-global.website-files.com)

  • A report generated by Doodle based on Wasting Time At Workplace Statistics mentioned that in the United States, the cost of unproductive meetings per year will be $399.01 billion in 2023.
  • In addition, total spending on poorly organized meetings in Germany accounted for $73.66 billion.
  • Moreover, the cost of unproductive meetings in other countries, the United Kingdom ($58.11 billion) and Switzerland ($33.15 billion).

Employees Waste Time Statistics Per Day

  • Conversely, in 2024, 16% of employees wasted nearly 2 hours of working time out of total working hours.
  • Wasting Time At Workplace Statistics mentioned that each workday, around 31% of employees waste a minimum of 31 minutes.
  • Furthermore, each day, 31% of employees waste 1 hour per day.
  • Only 60% of the time is actually productive at the Workplace.
  • Moreover, 4% of American employees wasted at least 4 hours daily
  • Furthermore, 4 hours of working time was wasted by 2% of employees, while over 5 hours was wasted by another 2%.
  • To boost productivity, almost 53% of employees claimed that they take short breaks between working hours to do several other activities.

Total Working Hours Statistics By Industry

Total Working Hours Statistics By Industry(Reference: clockify.me)

  • According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the U.S., the highest working hours as of April 2023 were 45.5 hours within the mining and logging industry.
  • Meanwhile, the industries with the longest working hours were Utilities (42.6 hours), durable goods (40.6 hours), manufacturing (40.2 hours), goods-producing (39.9 hours), nondurable goods (39.5 hours), wholesale trade (38.9 hours), and construction (38.9 hours).
  • On the other hand, the industries with the fewest working hours include transportation and warehousing (38 hours), financial activities (37.5 hours), professional and business services (36.7 hours), information (36.3 hours), trade, transportation, and utilities (34 hours), private service providers (33.4 hours), education and health services (33.4 hours), retail trade (30.1 hours), leisure and hospitality (25.4 hours), and other services (32.3 hours).

By Industries

Wasting Time At Workplace Statistics By Industries(Source: paychex.com)

  • In recent years, 17.4% of utilities industry employees have wasted 3 hours or more each day.
  • In the Telecommunications and Government & Public Administration industries, 15.2% and 14.4% of employees, respectively, wasted 3 or more hours.
  • In addition, the share of employees wasted 3 hours or more per day by industry is Publishing (14.3%), Real Estate, Rental, and leasing (13.2%), Manufacturing (12%), Transportation and warehousing (11.3%), Information Services and Data Processing (10.8%), Technology (9.9%), and Military (9.5%).

By Working From Home (WFO) Or Hybrid

Waste Time Statistics In Working In Working From Home (WFO) Or Hybrid(Source: rebootonline.com)

  • In accordance with Wasting Time At Workplace Statistics, almost 23.23% of employees who were working from home or were hybrid workers wasted their time on social media.
  • 19.91% and 14.32% of employees got distracted by using Internet browsing and socializing, respectively.
  • Meanwhile, other employees share of WFO or hybrid by reasons of time wastage during working hours are daydreaming (9.87%), personal calls (7.51%), eating or drinking (6.90%), computer games (6.38%), job hunting (5.33%), reading (2.71%), sleeping (2,45%), sexual activities (1.40%).

Reasons For Wasting Time Statistics

  • 53% of employees waste their time during working hours because they believe it breaks aid productivity.
  • In addition, other employees share time wastage (20%) and lack of incentive (8%).
  • Other reasons for people wasting time are dissatisfaction with their jobs (7%) and needing to be paid more (2%).

Non-Working Activities In The Workplace By Hours

  • Wasting Time At Workplace Statistics depict that only 19.6% of employees didn’t waste any time in 2023.
  • Whereas 30 minutes was wasted by 17.9% of employees within the Workplace.
  • Other employees who share non-work activities during working hours include 19.3% (1 hour), 8.6% (1 hour and 30 minutes), 11.6% (2 hours), 4.6% (2 hours and 30 minutes), and 18.5% (3 hours and more).

Employees’ Reasons For Being Late At The Workplace

Top Reasons Why Employees Are Late To Work(Reference: zippia.com)

  • Based on Wasting Time At Workplace Statistics, being late to work is another reason for time wastage. In 2023, 25% of employees stated that they were late due to traffic.
  • Other top reasons for employees being late to work are personal reasons (18%), oversleeping (15%), child-related issues (12%), health issues (12%), family-related issues (12%), searching for lost items (6%), and home-related issues (5%).

Cost Of Wasted Time: It’s Not Just Minutes

All this wasted time adds up to a hefty price tag for businesses. Here’s a glimpse at the impact:

  • Lost Productivity: In the U.S. alone, wasted time costs businesses a jaw-dropping $1.8 trillion annually [8]. That’s a lot of money left on the table!
  • Missed Deadlines: Wasted time can lead to missed deadlines, impacting project timelines and customer satisfaction.
  • Employee Morale: When workers see colleagues wasting time, it can affect morale and create a less productive environment for everyone.

Taking Back Control: Strategies To Reduce Time Wasting

The good news is that there are steps both employers and employees can take to combat wasted time:

  • Prioritization Techniques: Encourage workers to prioritize tasks and create time blocks to focus on specific projects.
  • Meeting Makeovers: Streamline meetings by setting clear agendas and time limits and encouraging attendees to come prepared.
  • Distraction-Free Zones: Consider creating designated quiet zones or time slots where employees can focus without digital distractions.
  • Open Communication: Foster a culture of open communication where employees feel comfortable discussing challenges and areas for improvement.
  • Engagement Efforts: Businesses should invest in creating a stimulating work environment and offering opportunities for professional development to keep employees engaged.


By implementing these strategies and fostering a culture of time management, both employers and employees can reclaim valuable hours and boost overall productivity. Remember, time is money, and in today’s fast-paced world, making the most of it is key to success. Hopefully, the overall statistics will help you understand the above current analyses about the topic’s importance in 2023 and 2024.

Maitrayee Dey
Maitrayee Dey

Maitrayee, after completing her graduation in Electrical Engineering, transitioned into the world of writing following a series of technical roles. She specializes in technology and Artificial Intelligence, bringing her experience as an Academic Research Analyst and Freelance Writer, with a focus on education and healthcare under the Australian system. From an early age, writing and painting have been her passions, leading her to pursue a full-time career in writing. In addition to her professional endeavors, Maitrayee also manages a YouTube channel dedicated to cooking.

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