52+ Latest Wasting Time at Work Statistics and Facts [2024]

November 7, 2023 0 Comments

Did you know the average employee wastes 260 hours every year?

That’s a significant amount of time that costs companies more money than just time.

In fact, In the United States, organizations lose $1.7 million in wasted time for every 100 employees.

We’ve listed down the statistics for you to learn:

Top Wasting Time at Work Statistics: Editor’s Pick

  1. The United States alone loses on average $1.7 million annually due to wasted time [3]
  2. Workers are spending an average of 2.9 hours each day on non-work activities [2]
  3. With almost 31% of employees waste around 30 minutes a day [1]
  4. 38% of wasted time is attributed to social media browsing [4]
  5. Professionals spend 2 hours a week, or 13 days a year, in pointless meetings [5]
  6. A one-hour meeting with five participants costs $338 USD in salaries [6]
  7. The top reason for wasted time at work is inefficient processes (44%) [7]
employees are wasting an average of 2.9 hours each day

What’s the Biggest Productivity Killer in the Workplace?

Various factors can easily sidetrack employees and sabotage a productive workday.

Which is why it’s important to identify the causes to prevent them.

Here are the statistics for you to find out:

Time flies scrolling through social media

Employees spend a minimum of 7.5 hours per week on social media during work hours. [8]

90.5% of employees admit that they use their personal phone during work time.

According to a People Per Hour survey, 5% of men and 11% of women dedicate more than 45 minutes of each work hour to social media usage. [17]

34% of workers turn to social media as a mental break from their jobs [9

These digital platforms have the potential to enhance productivity by fostering global connections: 

  • 27% use it to stay in touch with loved ones
  • 24% to network professionally
  • 20% for work-related problem-solving 

However, employers remain wary of non-work use and public posts that might affect the company’s image.

Social NetworkMale (% usage)Female (% usage)

Next to this, we have email.  

The average professional spends 28% of the work day reading and answering email [13]

In 2022, the number of global email users reached a staggering 4.26 billion and is expected to grow to a staggering 4.73 billion by 2026. [14]

Throughout the day, 34% of Americans frequently interrupt their work to check emails

On average, full-time workers in the U.S. dedicate 2.6 hours to reading emails.

Alongside email distractions, office gossiping poses a significant disruptive factor.

14% of workplace coffee-break chat is actually gossip [10]

About 66 % of general conversations between employees are related to social topics concerning other people

Interestingly, American workers spend about 40 minutes per week gossiping. [11]

Data shows:

  • 55% of men admit to gossiping
  • 79% of women chat at the office

While millennials are the most likely to gossip at work (81%), followed by Gen Xers (70%) and Baby Boomers (58%)

generation that gossips the most in workplace

In the fast-paced work world, time equals money.

But what if work-related activities are stealing your valuable time? 

Explore these statistics to uncover the truth.

Every week, employees invest 5 hours and 3 minutes in meetings, with an additional 4 hours and 13 minutes spent preparing for them [15]

47% find meetings unproductive

In a survey conducted by IGLOO, 47% of respondents thought that meetings are not productive.

Microsoft’s research reveals that 25% of people spend 7.5 hours in weekly meetings. [16]

They also found that inefficient meetings are the top productivity disruptor.

Another MIT Sloan School of Management study shows that cutting meetings by 40% leads to:

  • A 71% productivity boost 
  • A 52% satisfaction increase

And reducing meetings by 60% leads to:

  • A 55% cooperation improvement
  • A 57% reduction in stress risk

Surprisingly, multitasking ranks as the second major time-waster in the workplace. 

Research consistently shows that effective multitasking is a myth, and only around 2.5% of individuals can truly excel at it [18]

According to a study of Microsoft employees, it took workers an average of 15 minutes to refocus on demanding mental tasks.

In fact, Multitasking can reduce productivity by up to 40%. [18]

Switching between tasks takes time, causing a 50% delay in task completion and up to 50% more errors.

multitasking drains $650 billion yearly from the US economy

Costing the U.S. economy nearly $650 billion annually.

Last but not least, another major time-waster that employees face at work is repetitive manual tasks.

Repetitive tasks cost businesses a significant $13,202.88 per employee [20]

While repetition can boost learning, it leads to 520 hours of wasted work time that automation could save. 

Studies show that repetitive tasks cost businesses $1.8 trillion annually when combined with the national hourly wage. [20]

Data shows:

  • 33.9% spend an hour on non-essential manual tasks
  • 34.1% spend up to two hours on automatable tasks. 
  • 40% are uncertain about a solution
  • 20.2% see automation as the answer 

Causes of Employee Time-Wasting

If you think the leading cause of employee time-wasting is low pay, think again. 

We’ll present you with key statistics on the real reasons behind time-wasting.

Among the six major reasons for employee time-wasting, being underpaid ranks lowest at 18% [22]

employees don't wast time due to money

Here’s what we’ve collected:

  • 35% waste time because they lack challenge
  • 34% cite overly long hours as the cause
  • 32% feel their company offers no incentive for harder work
  • 30% express dissatisfaction
  • 23% admit to wasting time due to boredom

Only 21% of employees are highly motivated at work, leaving most struggling with distractions and repetitive tasks [18]

Workplace interruptions decrease employee productivity and engagement, with just 21% highly motivated.

On the other hand, content employees, free from distractions, increase productivity by 12% and boost revenue by 21%. [18]

Employee Reports

A recent report on employee time management reveals some startling statistics. 

  • 89% waste at least 30 minutes daily [23]
  • 31% waste 1 hour each day [3]
  • 16% waste about 2 hours [23]
  • 6% waste about 3 hours
  • 4% waste at least 4 hours
  • 2% waste more than 5 hours on a regular working day [3]
  • 53% do non-work activities as short breaks for productivity [23]
  • 80% interruptions at work are considered trivial
  • Less than 60% of the workday is productive

FAQs about Wasting Time at Work

What is the main reason behind employees wasting time?

35% of employees waste time due to a lack of challenges.

What are the common time-wasting habits in the workplace?

The most common time-wasting habits are browsing on social media, reading non-work related emails, and gossiping.

What daily activities by employees are time-wasting?

Wasteful activities include unproductive meetings, multitasking, and repetitive manual tasks.

How productive is the time spent at work?

Only about 60% of the workday is genuinely productive, and 53% of employees use non-work activities as quick breaks.

How can time wastage at work be minimized?

Here are several methods to reduce time wastage in the workplace:

  • Confrontation: Address behavior and maintain fairness.
  • Communication: Keep employees engaged through open dialogue.
  • Incentives: Offer bonuses, leaves, and recognition.
  • Monitoring: Use monitoring software with consent to boost productivity.
  • Mobile Use: Enforce a “no phone” rule to curb distractions.
  • Recreation: Allow breaks and recreational activities.
  • Belief: Build trust, intervene if trust is violated.


Despite our best intentions, most of us end up wasting some time at work.

This is a natural consequence of being human and dealing with numerous daily distractions, including talkative colleagues, meetings, and unclear priorities. 

To tackle these challenges, it’s crucial to comprehend the issues and how to resolve them.

By understanding practical solutions to reduce time wastage, businesses can improve their profitability and nurture a more productive, committed, and focused workforce.

Stay tuned to our website for the latest statistics that can help you prepare for the future.


  1. TeamStage. Wasting Time At Work Statistics: How & Why We Do It + Ways to Prevent It in 2023
  2. Clockwise. 8 work time wasters and how to avoid them
  3. Enterprise Apps Today. The Surprising Truth About Office Productivity.
  4. Inc. The Top 10 Ways Your Employees Waste Time at Work
  5. Better Meetings. Meeting Statistics
  6. Booqed. Minutes (Wasted) of Meeting: 50 Shocking Meeting Statistics
  7. Linkedin. Biggest Time Waster: Inefficient Processes
  8. Brainly. Impact of social media.
  9. Pew Research Center. Social Media and the Workplace
  10. ETHRWorld. Office Gossip: The evolutionary trait of gossiping.
  11. Inc. A Surprising New Workplace Study Reveals Who the Real Gossipers Are
  12. ZipDo. Essential Statistics On Taking Breaks At Work in 2023.
  13. Harvard Business Review. How to Spend Way Less Time on Email Every Day
  14. PPM Express. How Much Time Do Your Employees Spend On Checking Emails?
  15. Apploye Blog. 7 Common Time Wasters in the Workplace 
  16. Clockify Blog. Effects of workplace distractions in 2023: Crucial statistics
  17. Activeco. How Much Time Do Your Employees Waste on Social Media?
  18. FormAssembly. Wasting Time at Work? Here’s How to Fix It 
  19. Smart Simple Marketing. Startling Statistics on How Multitasking is REALLY Hurting Your Business
  20. Soocial. 25 Time Wasted At Work Statistics That Will Shock You 2023
  21. Titan Technologies. What is the True Cost of Wasted Time? 
  22. Salary com. Why & How Your Employees are Wasting Time at Work
  23. Ziipia. 25+ Wasting Time at Work Statistics [2023]: How Much Time is Wasted at Work

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