Checking social media, chatting with colleagues, doing the tea run and shopping online – and only three hours working – this is a day in the life of the modern British office worker, according to new research.
The study revealed that, despite working more hours than those of any other European country, the average British office employee manages to get through just three hours of actual work per day.
Adding weight to the numerous studies showing how unproductive British workers are, despite the country’s long working hours, the research found that the average office worker spends up to five hours on non-work related activity every day, including chatting and flirting with colleagues, online shopping, and doing the tea run.
The study, by Ginger Research, found a culture of long working hours persists, with almost half (46%) of British workers admitting they routinely stayed at work longer than they need to because everyone else does.
In fact, 12% of Brits said they work overtime with the sole purpose of looking busy, not because of the pressure of their workloads.
And 30% secretly admitted that they could be more productive than they are, while 17% claimed that, if their bosses knew what they were really doing at work, there would be trouble.
The study, of 1000 British office workers, found a staggering 64% of respondents said that they believe they could fit their day’s work into a shorter period of time.
Says Harriet Scott, MD of Ginger Research: “We’ve been working on ideas for making our own team more productive as, like all UK businesses, we strive for efficiency and excellence, especially in these uncertain times. The research was part of this project, and shows what many in the business world have been arguing for some time – that working long hours does not make for a more productive workforce.”
When asked what would make them more productive, half of British workers said a pay rise, 28% flexible hours, and 27% four-day week. And 18% believed the structure of their company is not the best for productivity. A quarter of those polled thought working from home would improve their performance, while 18% said a quieter office would do the trick.
Harriet Scott said: “Employers need to think creatively about how to get the most from their employees – flexible and home working, four-day weeks and quiet zones can all help boost performance and productivity in the workplace. We now offer all our employees a flexible working package as standard, which seems to be the way many UK businesses are now heading.”
The study also found that – as well as staying late – only 24% of office workers never work through their lunch breaks, And a third (34 percent) work through their lunches every single day.