If you’re blowing off meetings and turning in projects late, blame Facebook. A new survey pegs the social networking giant as the top reason so many of us are mentally checked out during the workday.
In a survey of more than 3,200 people conducted by Salary.com, 64% say they visit websites unrelated to work daily. That sounds like a lot, but it’s actually down nearly 10 percentage points since 2008. Salary.com speculates that’s because today’s employees are busier doing the work of their downsized colleagues as well as their own responsibilities; it’s also likely that the grim job market has people warier about visibly goofing off during the workday.
After Facebook, the destination where 41% of self-professed time wasters admit to going, the next most popular virtual stop is LinkedIn, which 37% say they visit. This might not be surprising, given that 46% of respondents say they use their work computers to look for new jobs.
Employers probably wouldn’t be thrilled to hear that, or to find out that 21% of people who admit to wasting time at work say they spend five hours a week — or an hour every day — on personal activities. The worst offenders are the 3% who say they spend 10 hours a week wasting time on non-work activities.
So who’s taking personal time while on the clock? The popularity of Facebook as a destination for people looking to kill a few minutes at work might lead to the assumption that the youngest workers are the biggest slackers, but that’s actually not the case. Among workers who waste 10 hours or more a week, 35% are Gen Y’ers, aged 26 to 35. Workers 25 and under make up only 15% of this total.
Perhaps surprisingly, better-educated workers waste more time. While 59% of high school grads admit to wasting time, that climbs to 67% for people with PhDs, 66% for workers with bachelor’s and 65% for those with master’s degrees.
Companies do try to stop their workers from wasting time online; 30% of respondents say their workplaces don’t let them log into sites like Facebook. But so many people have mobile devices with Internet access today that simply blocking a worker’s desktop computer doesn’t stop them.
Why are we slacking? Salary.com asked that, too. (Respondents could choose multiple reasons.) The short answer is that we really don’t like our jobs all that much. Among people who waste time at work, 35% say it’s because they’re not challenged by the work they’re doing, and nearly as many — 32% — say they waste time because their company doesn’t give them any incentive to work any harder. Overall job dissatisfaction was cited by 30% of respondents, and 23% say they’re just bored.